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Advisory for dormitory operators on implementation of Safe Living measures in foreign worker dormitories

Issued on 30 May 2020

  1. As Singapore moves towards gradually easing Circuit Breaker measures, the Inter-agency Task Force (ITF) has started to systematically test all migrant workers living in the dormitories to enable them to resume work safely.
  2. In tandem with these efforts, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has introduced a set of Safe Living measures to strengthen dormitory management practices, so that workers can live in dormitories safely.
  3. Operators of foreign worker dormitories1 are required to implement Safe Living measures in three areas:
    1. Tighten control of dormitory entry and exit: Dormitory operators will be required to track all movements in and out of the dormitories.
    2. Limit inter-mixing of workers: Dormitory operators will be required to set up physical barriers to prevent residents from inter-mixing between blocks and levels. They must also schedule timeslots to stagger the use of common facilities.
    3. Strengthen health monitoring and facilitate contact tracing: Dormitory operators are required to monitor the health of their residents, facilitate required testing of their residents, and set aside onsite isolation facilities.
  4. Details on the Safe Living measures can be found in the Safe Living Checklist (Annex A). Dormitory operators would have already put in place some of these measures earlier to facilitate the clearing of workers in the dormitories. These measures apply to dormitories or blocks within a dormitory that house workers who have recovered from or tested negative for COVID-19.
  5. Dormitory operators should put in place the measures and wait for MOM’s further instruction before their workers can be allowed to leave the dormitories for work. Only workers who are cleared of COVID-19, and who are residing in specified dormitories or specified blocks within a dormitory will be allowed to leave the dormitories for work, subject to their employers having the approval to re-open.
  6. Dormitory operators should clearly communicate these measures to their residents and are responsible to ensure that their residents comply with Safe Living measures in the dormitories. They should set out clearly, the rules to be complied with and consequences for non-compliance. For example, dormitory operators may prohibit workers to visit other blocks or gathering in groups of 5 or more outside their units, and impose a small financial penalty for failure to comply. All cases of residents’ non-compliance must be reported to MOM. For workers who repeatedly breach the rules, MOM may consider revoking their work pass
  7. Dormitory operators licensed under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA), will also be subjected to new Licence Conditions on the Safe Living measures. FEDA dormitory operators may be fined up to $50,000 or jailed up to 12 months, or both, for each condition that is contravened or not complied with.
  8. As we prepare to exit from the Circuit Breaker, we urge dormitory operators to remain vigilant and ensure that Safe Living measures are rigorously implemented to reduce the risk of subsequent waves of COVID-19 infections in dormitories.
  9. For further queries, please refer to the FAQs (Annex B). Otherwise, please contact:

    Ministry of Manpower
    Online enquiry
    www.mom.gov.sg

    Ministry of Health
    Online enquiry
    www.moh.gov.sg

FOOTNOTE

  1. This refers to Purpose-built Dormitories, Factory-converted Dormitories, Construction Temporary Quarters, Temporary Living Quarters (with seven or more foreign worker residents), Quarters on Temporary Occupation Licence Sites and Government-provided accommodation facilities (e.g. vacant HDB flats, old schools and sports halls). This excludes private residential premises and HDB flats.

Annex A1 - Safe Living checklist for dormitory operators

Some requirements in Annex A1 may not be applicable in some instances, such as in dormitories with only en-suite cooking or toilet facilities, or dormitories that only have a single block.

A. Tighter control of entry and exit

  1. Ensure 24/7 manning of entrances and track all movements in and out of the dormitory.
  2. Carefully regulate the entry and exit of residents, in accordance with movement controls required by the Government.
  3. Check the temperature of every visitor to the dormitory. Register visitors and their purpose of visit, and issue them with identification passes before allowing them into the dormitory. During this period, visitors are only allowed for essential purposes e.g. repair works.
  4. Visually inspect individuals entering or leaving the dormitory for symptoms* of infection.

B. Limit inter-mixing of workers

  1. Work with employers to implement measures to group their workers by rooms, floors and blocks.
  2. Set up barriers and mark out routes from dormitory blocks to common areas and entrances, and ensure that workers from different blocks and floors do not inter-mix. In particular, “cleared dormitories and blocks”, which will be used to house only workers who have recovered from or who tested negative for COVID-19, should be separated from the rest of the dormitory that is not cleared.
  3. Mark out and assign shared toilets and communal cooking areas for the use by occupants of the same room. In communal kitchens, allow only one cook per stove at any one time (i.e. no sharing). Where en-suite cooking facilities are available, residents can be allowed to cook.
  4. Schedule the use of other communal facilities and shared services amongst “cleared blocks and dormitories” and ensure that workers from different blocks and floors do not inter-mix. This includes access to outdoor recreational spaces, haircut and remittance services.
  5. Facilitate contactless ordering and delivery of purchases from minimarts, canteens and shops in the dormitory. Set up a process for residents to safely collect purchases that are delivered by merchants outside the dormitory.
  6. Continue to keep communal dining areas and indoor recreational facilities closed.
  7. Designate separate waiting areas for the pick-up and drop-off of residents, such that residents who live in different blocks or work for different employers do not inter-mix. Where necessary, coordinate with employers to stagger the pick-up and drop-off timings of residents.

*Symptoms of infection include a) coughing, b) sneezing, c) breathlessness and d) a runny nose.

Annex A2 - Safe Living checklist for dormitory operators

All the requirements in Annex A2 must be implemented by all dormitories.

C. Strengthen health monitoring and facilitate contact tracing

  1. Monitor residents’ health closely to identify residents who display symptoms* of infection.
  2. Ensure that residents who are unwell have timely access to medical support from onsite or regional medical posts, as well as via tele-kiosks at night.
  3. Set aside 5% of total dormitory capacity as isolation facilities for all dormitories, and an additional 3.5% as medical facilities for FEDA-licensed dormitories.
  4. Facilitate regular COVID-19 testing of residents, quickly isolate positive cases and ensure that residents who are close contacts of positive cases, as well as those issued with Quarantine Orders (QOs) or eQOs do not leave their floors. Disinfect the affected areas immediately.
  5. Remind residents to report their daily health status, i.e. temperature and symptoms* of infection to the Ministry of Manpower at least twice daily, at least 8h apart between reports.
  6. Remind residents to download and activate the latest version of the TraceTogether mobile application for contact tracing and FWMOMCare mobile application to report their health and update their address daily.

D. FW management and proper housekeeping

  1. Ensure that all individuals wear a mask when accessing common areas, communal facilities and shared services.
  2. Ensure each room has disinfectant solution that residents can use to clean their living areas regularly. Ensure that the disinfectant solution is always available in each room.
  3. Provide hand-washing, disinfectant solution and sanitising stations at various locations, especially at common areas and communal facilities. Ensure that soaps, disinfectant solution and hand sanitisers are always available.
  4. Ensure common areas, communal facilities and shared services are clean and regularly disinfected. Where the use of facilities and services are scheduled, they must be disinfected after the use by each group of residents.
  5. Ensure that Safe Distancing (of maintaining at least 1m from another person) is practised in all parts of the dormitory. Where needed, mark out, close or reorganise spaces that compromise the practice of Safe Distancing (e.g. cooking stoves placed next to each other).
  6. Maintain an up-to-date register of all residents housed in the dormitory. Upon request, send the updated register to the Ministry of Manpower.

*Symptoms of infection include a) coughing, b) sneezing, c) breathlessness, d) a runny nose and e) loss of smell.