On Tuesday (11 Aug), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Economic Development Board (EDB) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) said in a joint statement that there have already been instances where new cases of COVID-19 infections are detected at previously cleared dormitories.
“The Interagency Task Force (ITF) is actively monitoring the dormitories to manage the risk of new outbreaks,” the statement read.
As part of precautions, the authorities said that workers are required to self-monitor their health by reporting their temperature and acute respiratory illness symptoms through the FWMOMCare App twice a day.
The authorities will also monitor closely the number of migrant workers who report sick at the medical posts as well as the wastewater from higher risk dormitories for traces of the COVID-19 infection.
It also stated that workers in higher risk settings such as staying in dormitories and working onsite in the construction, marine and process sectors are required to go for a swab test every 14 days.
For workers who were infected previously and have recovered from COVID-19, the authorities said they are not required to undergo regular testing for 180 days.
“If our monitoring picks up potential infections among migrant workers, the ITF will quickly isolate and quarantine all at-risk workers within the block that was housing the infected worker as a precautionary measure,” it noted.
The authorities also reminded the employers to arrange their workers that need to be regularly tested to undergo the COVID-10 swab test every 14 days, at a Regional Screening Centre, or an in-dormitory test centre where available.
“As workers will be required to go for regular tests when the dormitories they are residing in are cleared, employers are encouraged to check the Swab Registration System (SRS) regularly to book appointments for their workers,” it added.
Noting that the testing of all migrant workers in dormitories has been completed, the authorities said the dormitories are also putting in place safe living measures, such as having staggered pick- up and drop-off timings, updating of the workers’ residence addresses, and minimising mixing between blocks, in order to allow workers to resume work while minimising the risk of renewed infections.
Other than this, employers and workers are also required to observe proper safe distancing measures at the workplace as part of precautionary measures.
“With more daily movements in and out of the dormitories, it is even more important for everyone to remain vigilant to guard against new infections,” it noted.
The multi-layered approaches from the authorities came after MOM’s statement which stated that all dormitories have been declared cleared of COVID-19, with the exception of 17 standalone blocks in six Purpose-Built Dormitories (PBDs) which serve as quarantine facilities.
“This means that all workers living in dormitories have either recovered or have been tested to be free from the virus, except for 22,500 workers in isolation in Centralised Government Quarantine Facilities and the remaining 17 standalone blocks in PBDs,” MOM said in its statement on 11 Aug.