Singapore — While all foreign worker dormitories had been cleared of Covid-19 as of last Wednesday (Aug 19), and 86 per cent of the workers had gone back to work, a resurgence of cases has caused the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to halt work at 13 construction sites.
A BCA spokesman said “a stop work order is issued to the builder to rectify any shortcomings in safe management measures on site or introduce new measures to curb the risk of Covid-19 transmission”, according to straitstimes.com.
Some workers from Singapore’s biggest foreign worker dormitory, Sungei Tengah Lodge, had tested positive for Covid-19 and had been working in these construction sites.
A total of 20 construction projects had been issued a safety time-out notice on Sunday (Aug 23), among which were the 13 construction sites.
The notice was issued for the purpose of disinfecting the surroundings of the work areas, as well as a review of safety measures implemented on-site, according to a report from Bloomberg on Monday (Aug 24). This usually lasts three days.
The BCA spokesman added that the 20 construction projects given the notices are mostly commercial and infrastructure sites.
On Sunday (Aug 23), channelnewsasia.com reported that about 4,800 workers living in the Sungei Tengah Lodge in 500 Old Choa Chu Kang Road had been placed under a Stay-Home Notice after two new Covid-19 cases linked to 55 previous cases were found at the dorm, which had been declared as “fully cleared” of the virus by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on July 21.
The Sungei Tengah Lodge dorm, which houses 16,000 residents, had been the site of one of the largest infection clusters in Singapore with more than 2,200 cases.
On Monday (Aug 24), a new Covid-19 cluster was reported in straitstimes.com, this time at Homestay Lodge at 39 Kaki Bukit Avenue 3, where one newly-confirmed Covid-19 infection was linked to four older cases.
According to Bloomberg, stopping the work at construction sites may prove challenging for Singapore, which is in the process of re-starting its economy after the two-month circuit breaker period to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Earlier this month, with the number of infections down and more and more dorms cleared, the BCA announced that companies with foreign construction workers could go back to work, which meant a return to job sites for 40,000 workers. This had been welcome news for the construction sector, which has been hard-hit during this pandemic.
The BCA said that it would continue with efforts to minimise further infection outbreaks, however, with on-site audits and inspections. /TISG