Excerpt from PM Lee’s address to nation on 10 Apr 2020
We have seen outbreaks in several foreign worker dormitories. Many dorms have cases, and some dorms have many cases. We have responded comprehensively to contain the spread in the dorms, and to protect the foreign workers.
Yesterday, Ministers Lawrence Wong and Gan Kim Yong explained what we are doing. They have set up an interagency task force to handle the situation in the dorms. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Manpower, the SAF, the Home Team, all are involved. The commander of the task force is the Chief Guards Officer from the Army, and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean is advising the ministers on this issue.
The task force has deployed Forward Assurance and Support Teams in all the dorms. These teams work closely with the dorm operators and can respond quickly to the workers’ essential needs. They are setting up medical facilities and triage clinics, bringing in supplies and food, and managing the logistics and housekeeping. They are making sure the workers have food and water, and WiFi to keep in touch with families back home and friends here, and for entertainment. The SAF and the Home Team have the resources and the organisation to do this. Many other public service agencies are also chipping in.
We are paying close attention to the welfare of the foreign workers. They came to Singapore to work hard for a living, and provide for their families back home. They have played an important part building our HDB flats, Changi Airport, MRT lines. We have worked with their employers to make sure they will be paid their salaries, and can remit money home. We will provide them with the medical care and treatment that they need.
Containment of spread
As of 13 April 2020, Acacia Lodge, Cochrane Lodge I, Cochrane Lodge II, Tampines Dormitory, Sungei Tengah Lodge, Toh Guan Dormitory, S11 Dormitory @ Punggol ("S11") and Westlite (Toh Guan) Dormitory have been gazetted as isolation areas due to a large number of COVID-19 cases.
Workers who are symptomatic have already been isolated.
Protecting Foreign Workers who are well
All foreign workers in the affected dorms will not go to work.
Access to recreational facilities will be regulated to reduce the inter-mixing. They will also not be allowed to move between blocks.
Workers have also been advised not to interact with others who do not reside in the same room or floor.
All resident workers have received care packs consisting of masks, thermometers and hand sanitisers.
All affected workers will be taken care of
MOM is working closely with the dorm operators to ensure that the affected workers will be taken care of:
- Salaries - they will continue to be paid salaries for the duration of the quarantine. The period of absence from work will be treated as paid hospitalisation leave. To provide relief to employers, the government will waive levies due in April and provide a one-off levy rebate of $750 to employers. In view of this support, employers of foreign work permit and S Pass holders will not be eligible for the daily allowance paid to employers of quarantined workers. This supersedes the Government’s earlier statement regarding the daily quarantine allowance.
- Daily needs will be provided – three meals a day by professional caterers, reusable masks, thermometers, hand sanitisers, and other essentials.
- Medical - Onsite medical support has been deployed to support the workers in both dormitories.
Enhanced health screening measures are also in place, with temperature checking and regular monitoring for fever and respiratory symptoms. Those who are unwell will be provided with prompt medical treatment.
Enhanced waste management and sanitation regimes
Cleaning of dorms has been intensified. The frequency of refuse collection and removal from the premises for disposal have been increased from once a day to three to five times daily, depending on the premises.
The disinfection and cleaning of the common areas and washroom facilities are also carried out on an average of three times per day.
As this will be a big adjustment for the affected workers, MOM will ensure that those who are affected will be provided the necessary support.
Resources for dorm operators and workers
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