An employer revealed on Saturday (25 July) that her migrant workers have gone from negative to positive for the COVID-19, due to an infected worker from another company – who shared the same room with them at Tuas South Dormitory – was not immediately transferred to isolation area following his result confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (24 July).
This is the third case of migrant workers not relocated to an isolation area after being tested positive for the virus. The first case was reported on 15 July, while the second case had emerged on 21 July which involving two migrant workers from Toh Guan Dormitory.
The employer, named Christy Soo, took to Facebook on Friday claiming that one of the workers who was housed in the same room with her workers has undergone a swab test on Thursday (23 July) and subsequently was confirmed to be infected with the virus the following day.
Ms Soo noted that the worker – who is from another company – has received a text message from the MOH at 12.08pm on Friday telling him that his swab test result turned out to be positive.
The worker, however, was not immediately transferred to an isolation area and was still being placed in the same room with the other workers who were “healthy” at the time.
“I contacted the dormitory operator, Tuas South Dormitory and they asked me to wait. Then I called MOH and they directed me to call MOTS,” said Ms Soo.
She has also advised the worker to report to FAST team and Inter-agency Task Force (ITF) about his case, but the worker was told that his employer had asked him to stay in the room.
“All our workers are living in fear now. This is not fair to them and same goes to employer,” Ms Soo wrote.
Noting that the worker was transferred to the room – where her workers were staying – on 15 June, Ms Soo stated that she had earlier on raised her concern to the dormitory operator and “protested strongly” about her workers having to share the same room with workers from another company.
“But we were left with no alternative option but to comply with MOM’s advisory,” she added.
Ms Soo also requested to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on 17 June for the relocation of her workers to two other alternative accommodation that her company has arranged for them. But MOM said it will only approve the relocation of workers who have recovered from the COVID-19 and obtained discharge memos from MOH.
“I followed up with a separate appeal to MOM but didn’t get any further response from MOM.”
Meanwhile, Ms Soo in an update on Saturday (25 July) said that five of her workers – who shared the same room with the infected worker – have also been tested positive for the virus.
She claimed that before the case of the infected worker emerged, her workers had undergone both serology test and a swab test for a few times and their results came out negative. She shared a screenshot of her worker being cleared of COVID-19 when he had his test back in 13 July.
“All of my workers have been quarantined since 13 April 2020 and have been placed in isolation since April. They stayed in the room for the past three and a half months (since 12 April 2020).
“We gave them our assurance that if they follow these safety measures and remain uninfected, they will be allowed to return to work by July 2020,” she asserted.
But now that the workers are tested positive, they are not allowed to return to work until they are cleared from the virus.
“This is the result and efforts that everyone made to isolate themselves since 13 April. This is devastating! What is the proper safety measures by keeping healthy workers with infected ones?” Ms Soo stated and tagged the then-Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.
She explained that employers will still have to continue to pay their workers’ levies, salaries and accommodation fees despite when the workers are not allowed to resume working.
“Our nightmare begins now and all our plans and hopes are dashed again!” Ms Soo stated.
Update: The infected worker from another company was said to be transferred out of the room at 24 July 8pm after being informed of being positive at 12pm.