Photo reveals migrant workers sitting side-to-side on a lorry without observing social distancing measures; raising doubts on whether the enforcement is being implemented

A picture speaks a thousand words. Recently, a photo revealed that a group of migrant workers were sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on a lorry without observing social distancing measures, which had raised doubts about the authority’s enforcement in preventing the re-emergence of COVID-19 in migrant workers dormitories.

The photo was taken by TOC reader – who wished to remain anonymous – at Keppel Road at about 9am on 11 September (Friday).

In the photo, it can be seen that a group of migrant workers wearing a mask were sitting side-by-side, face-to-face at the back of a lorry and not complying the social distancing measures.

The photo also showed that the lorry has a maximum seating capacity of 24 people.

“Always wonder why new COVID clusters at dormitories again? I took this picture this morning along Keppel Road at 9am. Picture speaks a thousand words,” the reader said.

The reader also raised a few questions about the guidelines issued by the authorities for transporting workers and who should be responsible for breaching the social distancing rule.

The reader wrote:

1. What’s the guideline for transporting these workers?
2. If they breach the social distancing rule, should all workers be fined $300 and be sent home?
3. Should the employer be made to paid for these workers’ fines? And be banned for employment of foreign workers for 1 year?
4. Or should both parties be equally responsible?

If stricter penalty is imposed, perhaps cases of new COVID clusters’ at dormitory will be solved.

While questioning the authorities, the reader also expressed that the cases of new COVID-19 clusters at dormitory will perhaps be solved if the stricter penalty is imposed.

On the other hand, a van stuffed so full of migrant workers were also seen in a viral video. It had raised public concern over the safe distancing among them although the workers have put the masks on.

 

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s joint advisory on safe management measures for workers transported by lorries, it noted that all workers must wear a mask at all times and should not talk or interact while seated in the motor vehicle.

“When using a lorry or van, the clear floor space of the deck available for each seated passenger shall not be less than 0.496 square metres. This means a 25% reduction of the Maximum Passenger Capacity (MPC) allowable for each lorry or van. For example, if the MPC label states 36 pax, the vehicle will be allowed to carry up to 27 pax,” the statement read.

The authorities also stated that the employers, transport providers and drivers are expected to comply with the rules “until notified otherwise by the authorities”.

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, those who found breaching the rules will face fine of up to $10,000, or up to six months’ imprisonment, or both.

Dating back to April, at least 28 employers have been fined for non-compliance with safe distancing measures for workers ferried by lorries.
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