A viral video that shows a large group of migrant workers quarantined at Changi Exhibition Centre care facility huddling together to collect food is not something that happened recently, said the facility’s managing agent Mandarin Oriental Singapore.
A spokesperson from the hotel group told TODAY that the video was actually taken more than a week ago on 10 May.
The spokesperson, however, added that the situation has now improved as more staff were placed at the premise.
“The situation has improved significantly and is generally stable.”
In the two-minute long video, about 300 men can be seen moving around and standing close together in queues without observing social distancing rules near food distribution stations at one section of the hall. A loud whistle and people shouting, presumably from staff members of the facility, could also be heard in the video.
The original poster of the footage is unknown. The video made its rounds on social media and messaging groups on Monday (18 May). Upon viewing the video, a number of online users criticised the “poorly managed” situation.
Changi Exhibition Centre houses more than 2,600 migrant workers who have tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 but show mild symptoms. Mandarin Oriental is in charge of the facility’s operations.
The hotel acknowledged that it is aware of the video that has been circulating online, clarifying that the incident happened on 10 May while the workers were collecting their afternoon snack.
Throughout the facility, queues were “orderly”, except for one section that was seen in the video with around 300 men, it said.
“We can understand the concern that some have expressed about the occupants coming into close proximity with each other. As they are all Covid-19-positive, they do not pose risks to one another,” the spokesperson said.
The hotel also revealed that it sought to work with the migrant workers to follow orderly queues, with “enhanced measures to improve queue management” be implemented. This include spacing out meal timings by sectors so that crowding at the meal collection area can be reduced as well as deploying more personnel and having volunteers among the migrant workers to help distribute meals and manage the crowd.
The spokesperson also sent two closed-circuit television videos to TODAY which project the afternoon snack distribution situation on 12 and 14 May. In the footage, fewer than 10 people were seen queuing up to collect their snacks.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed on its Facebook page on Monday that it is aware of the video. It added that the “situation has improved significantly as a result of enhanced queue management measures”.
Changi Exhibition Centre is one of the few community care facilities in Singapore that houses COVID-19 patients who exhibit mild symptoms and are less vulnerable. These facilities are created to the pressure on isolation wards in hospitals. Other such facilities are at D’Resort in Pasir Ris and the Singapore Expo Convention & Exhibition Centre in Changi.