Given that the Government has announced that there are no new COVID-19 cases detected in migrant worker dormitories on most days since October, there is no need for these workers to be treated like prisoners by locking them in the dorms, Alex Au of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) said to BBC.

Mr Au said this after the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed on Monday (14 December) that close to 152,794 migrant workers living in dormitories have had the COVID-19 virus, which is 47 percent of the 323,000 total migrant workers.

Based on this number, the migrant labour’s rights group said that it is “unsurprised” to learn that nearly half of the migrant workers in the country have been infected with the deadly coronavirus in the past nine month.

Without including the migrant workers, lesser than 4,000 people have tested positive in Singapore. These workers, who have been living in cramped dormitories, have been quarantined in their dorms and not allowed to be out in the community since April following the spike in cases among them.

“There is no justification for Singapore to treat migrant workers like prisoners,” said Mr Au. “Many have been locked in for eight months.”

Cases among migrant workers may still go up

MOM and MOH revealed in a joint statement on Monday that 54,505 dormitory residents had a positive result from a polymerase chain reaction of PCR test, while another 98,289 were tested positive from a serology test – a test for past infection – as of Sunday (13 December).

This brings the total number of infected workers in dormitories to 152,794 for both PCR and serology, said the ministries. This figure makes up almost half of the 323,000 migrant workers living in dorms across the city-state.

While the 54,505 positive cases among dorm residents were made known to public previously, but the 98,289 positive cases were only released by the Government on Monday.

MOH had earlier revealed in August that all migrant workers in the country have been tested for COVID-19 at least once, with either of the two types of tests.

Anyone who have tested positive for the virus will be isolated, along with those who have been found to only have carried the virus in the past, MOH said.

However, with some 65,000 workers’ serology tests still pending, the percentage may still go up, BBC reported.

“These new figures don’t surprised us. During the middle of the year, workers who tested positive were telling us that they were told to stay in their rooms and not taken into isolation. They remained in contact with their room-mates,” noted Mr Au.

He continued, “But this is history. We’re more concerned that Singapore continues to treat the workers as prisoners even though the same statement by the ministry says that ‘since October, no new cases were detected in the dormitories on many days’.”

Since the active infection rate is virtually zero and these workers are tested every two weeks, there is no need for the Government to place such strict restrictions on them, Mr Au argued.

He also explained that even healthy workers are only permitted to leave their dorms and be taken to their work sites and sometimes to designated shops near their dorms.

“Workers are still interned and treated like prisoners, used for their labour with no freedom of movement.”

TOC have also spoken to some migrant workers and understands that they have been made to stay within their rooms for the past couple of months since April this year with only their phone as a mean to communicate with their family and friends, and to pass time.

Many of whom are not paid the full salary but allowances to pay for their living expenses.

One such worker from India, told TOC that he had just arrived in Singapore when the lockdown occured and he has not been able to send any money back to his family till today.

On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore is set to enter Phase Three of its post-COVID circuit breaker reopening on 28 December.

“With the transition into Phase 3, we are preparing to return migrant workers to the community in a controlled manner, with strict measures in place,” said the health and manpower ministries.

“We will start a pilot scheme in the first quarter of 2021 to allow migrant workers in some dormitories to access the community once a month, subject to compliance with rostered routine testing (RRT), wearing of contact tracing devices and safe living measures,” they added.

Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng said at a press conference by the multi-ministry taskforce on Monday that migrant workers will be allowed access to communal facilities in their dormitories, such as cooking stations and sports facilities.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

AVA investigating alleged case of cat killing at Bukit Batok

Graphical photos of a cat killed at Bukit Batok West Avenue 7…

Who holds the sovereign wealth of this nation and why?

Kenneth Jeyaretnam proposes alternative investments ideas for S’pore’s 2 SWFs.

Top radio stations – broadcasters’ conflicting claims

Class 95FM is the most-listened to English-language radio station. No, wait. That title…

民众积极举报危险驾驶 交警罚单五年增1.5倍

交警接到有关不良驾驶行为的投报越来越多,根据公民反馈而发出的罚单在五年内增加了1.5倍。 接受《海峡时报》访问时,交警透露,去年透过民众举报,一共发出了2500张罚单。而2014年,交警发出的罚单只有1700张。 交警发出的罚单从2015年的15万2000增加到去年的18万1000张。 总的来说,交警在2018年接到1万8500份民众的反馈函,这个数量是2014年的两倍,2014年接到的反馈函有多达6千900张。 透过反馈门户网站投报 交警发言人表示,民众投报资讯多数是取自2014年开始推出的新加坡警察部队“道路使用者电子反馈”门户网站。 他补充说,较为突出的常见违规行为包括了有超速行驶、闯红灯和危险或鲁莽驾驶。 他指出,“交警欢迎民众作出有关违反交通规矩的投报,这样有助于保障所有公路使用者的安全。” 人民设立社媒群组 近年来,社交媒体上也出现了一些与道路安全相关的群组。他们使用车辆仪表板摄像头录下不负责任的驾驶者、行人和其他交通使用者的不当行为。 其中一个类似的群组是脸书专页,拥有将近22万名脸书粉丝。 62岁的Road.sg专页创办人阿罗修斯方表示,这个网页收到约10个有关危险驾驶的视频,其中一半内容涉及驾驶者违规闯红灯。…