An employer revealed in a Facebook post on Wednesday (15 July) that one of her migrant workers, who was recently tested positive for COVID-19, was not immediately transferred to an isolation area following the results confirmation from the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Rather, the infected worker was placed in the same room as other healthy 11 workers by the dormitory operator.
Tsjin Dolly Chandra noted that the swab test was done for her worker on 22 June and she received a SMS from MOH on 13 July at 8.30am stating that the worker has been tested positive for the coronavirus. MOH added in the SMS that the worker should “immediately” inform the dorm operator about this.
However, Ms Tsjin noted that the dorm operator said that they cannot do anything about it and advised the other healthy workers in the room to put on their masks.
She added that she called MOH’s hotline on 13 July (Monday) to follow-up regarding this issue and was told that MOH needs another 24 hours to make arrangement to relocate the migrant worker to an isolation centre.
She also said that the case was then passed to the Taskforce.
“Till now more than 48 hrs, nothing done & he is still in the SAME room with the rest of the healthy 11 workers,” she wrote in the post.
To make it worse, the employer stated that when she called MOH again yesterday (15 July), the Ministry said there’s “no record of our case in their (MOH) system”.
“All the government agency and dormitory pushing the responsibility from one department to another department. No wonder the cases in the dormitory never ending..as they do not bother to isolate the positive tested worker,” she expressed.
If that’s not all, she also said that the security at the dormitory still required the infected worker to go “up and down to their office to see him”, revealing that the he has been moving around despite being infected with the highly contagious virus.
When asked on how the other healthy workers in the room are feeling, Ms Tsjin said to TOC that, “They are living in fear and worried. Even the infected worker (is) also worried that he might spread (the virus) to his mates”.
She added, “12 men in a room…high risk lo. The dormitory just ask them to wear mask. My worker himself asked to isolate but the security replied him NO SPARE ROOM”.
The employer also said to TOC that she did not want to bring the matter to social media but had no choice.
“I do not want to post in media but we do not know where to get help. No choice..so I post and hope to get some directions online,” she said.
In another post, Ms Kelly Soh, the company HR personnel shared that the FWMOMCare app was only updated on Wednesday and the message showed that the affected migrant worker has actually taken his swab test on 22 June.
However, he got his test results only three weeks later (13 July) via a SMS from MOM.
“We called MOH at 6325 9220 almost everyday since Monday but till now nothing was arranged and the infected worker is still staying in the SAME room with the rest of the 11 workers. 1st day when I called, MOH mentioned that they need 24hrs to arrange for the infected worker to be transported out of the room… So we waited and after 24hrs on 14 July 2020, our workers updated that he did not receive any call or update from MOH & Dormitory side,” Ms Soh wrote.
She continued, “NO isolation was done. So we called up the dormitory manage and spoke to him and same reply, cannot do anything and need to wait for MOH.”
Subsequently, Ms Soh said that after the company called MOH once again, they were redirected to the Taskforce, given that the Taskforce will be taking over the case and will liaise with the dormitory.
However, she said that to date nothing was communicated among MOH, Taskforce and the dormitory.
“So we called MOH and was redirected to the MOH emergency hotline at 1800 – 333 9999 and most shocking part was the staff ask for all the details and said there was no record that we called before at all.. So all these while, who am I talking to???” she said.
Following that, Ms Soh said the company called the Taskforce and was told by a staff that “they will not so anything unless instructions were given by healthcare clinics or healthcare agency”.
“I was like dumb-folded and full of frustrations, we have been pushed around from dorm to MOH to Task Force and nothing was done…. Is this the way COVID-19 cases supposed to be handle at the dormitory???” she asked.
“The infected worker is living in fear, worried that he will spread to the rest of the 11 workers who are staying in the SAME room. All the way from 22 June 2020 he was swabbed till 15 July 2020!!!
“How many more from the room will be infected by now??? Can someone please advise us what should we do and which agency we should seek help from??? Can the minister in-charge advise or look into this matter,” she concluded.
As the dormitory that the workers are staying in, is gazetted as an isolated area. The employers of the workers cannot relocate them even if they want to.