Singapore—In his message to the country’s migrant workers on International Migrants’ Day (Dec 18), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long expressed his appreciation for their “trust, patience and support,” saying that Singapore could not have achieved its success in fighting the pandemic without the “cooperation and sacrifices” of the migrant workers.
“You are welcomed members of our society,” he said, pledging medical care should any of the workers fall ill.
He posted the one and a half minute speech on his Facebook account, adding in a caption that the Covid-19 vaccine will also be offered to migrant workers.
“As we enter Phase 3, more restrictions will be eased, and workers will be able to enjoy more communal activities. Workers will also be offered the vaccine, with more details to be announced. “
PM Lee had said in a national address on Monday night (Dec 14) that the country will enter Phase 3 of reopening on Dec 28, in time for the holiday season.
Moreover, he announced that Health Sciences Authority approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pandemic use and that the first shipment of vaccines will be available by the end of the month. He added that the vaccines would be free for all Singaporean citizens and long-term residents, but would not be made mandatory.
Among the communal activities PM Lee mentioned that migrant workers will be able to enjoy soon are cooking and sports, and he added, “With some luck, we can ease up further.”
He added, however, a reminder for all the migrant workers to stay vigilant and to cooperate with the government as well as their employers “to keep everyone safe.”
Ninety-three per cent of the country’s cases were found among migrant workers, and a Dec 14 update from the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the prevalence rate of the infection among the 323,000 who live in dormitories is at 47 per cent, which means nearly half of the workers have antibodies against the infection already.
Additionally, among the 29 people who died of Covid-19 in Singapore, only two were migrant workers. Eighty per cent of those infected only had mild symptoms, or none at all.
When the country enters Phase 3, the MOH said that it “will start a pilot scheme in the first quarter of 2021 to allow migrant workers in some dormitories to access the community once a month, subject to compliance with RRT (Rostered Routine Testing), wearing of contact-tracing devices and safe living measures.” —/TISG