Advisory on step down of COVID-19 measures
Issued on 11 February 2023
- On 9 February 2023, the Multi-Ministry Task Force announced1 that Singapore will move towards Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Green and relax COVID-19 measures in the community. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will also implement the step-down measures for migrant workers (MWs) living in dormitories.
Changes in Safe Management Measures
- As we transit to DORSCON Green, MOM will relax the Safe Management Measures (SMM) for MWs. Please refer to Table 1 for more information. These measures will take effect from 13 February 2023.
Table 1: Updates to SMM
Updated COVID-19 testing and recovery measures for MWs in dormitories from 1 March 2023
|Removal of Popular Places Pass2
- MWs visiting Chinatown, Geylang Serai, Jurong East and Little India will no longer need to apply for passes.
- MWs will be required to wear masks at the Onboard centre and at healthcare facilities such as the Medical Centre for Migrant Workers (MCMWs).
- MWs who are unwell especially with acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms should wear a mask.
- MWs are encouraged to wear masks in crowded places, or when visiting or interacting with vulnerable persons3.
- Mask-wearing will no longer be required by legislation when taking public transport.
- MWs can leave their residence for work regardless of their AccessCode colour status. AccessCode status will be set to green by default.
- Dormitory operators and employers will no longer need to check the MWs’ AccessCode status when they wish to leave their residence.
|Removal of requirement to scan QR code in dormitory room
- MWs will not need to scan the QR code in their dormitory rooms.
|Removal of block segregation barriers in dormitories
- Dormitories will no longer be required to implement block segregation barriers within the dormitories.
- With high vaccination rates and immunity from previous infections, the risk of COVID-19 leading to severe disease has become very low, comparable to other endemic respiratory diseases such as influenza. Therefore, the following COVID-19 testing, and recovery measures will take effect from 1 March 2023:
- MWs with ARI should recover in their own rooms while wearing their masks. Alternatively, dormitory operators may arrange for unwell MWs to recover in the isolation facilities within the dormitories. MWs may remove their masks when they are well and no longer symptomatic, or have completed their period of outpatient sick leave, whichever is earlier.
- For MWs recovering in the dormitories, employers should ensure that their workers’ daily meals are taken care of.
- MWs who are feeling unwell should continue to seek medical treatment at the MCMWs or via telemedicine. MWs who are enrolled on the Primary Care Plan should seek medical treatment with their Anchor Operator. Should your MW’s symptoms worsen (e.g. chest pain, shortness of breath), please call 995 immediately and seek medical treatment at any hospital’s Emergency Department.
- COVID-19 tests will only be administered to symptomatic vulnerable MWs or those with severe ARI symptoms4. In addition, MWs reporting sick with ARI symptoms at MCMWs may be randomly tested to monitor circulating respiratory pathogens including COVID-19.
- To maintain vigilance against new COVID-19 variants and mitigate importation risks, newly arrived Work Permit Holders from the Construction, Marine shipyard and Process (CMP) sectors holding an In-Principle Approval will continue to undergo COVID-19 tests and isolation at the Onboard centre.
Vaccination requirements for work pass application
- All foreigners who apply for new work passes must still be fully vaccinated5 with WHO-EUL vaccines as part of work pass requirements. Additionally, work permit and S Pass holders (i) in the CMP sectors; or (ii) who reside in dormitories, will continue to be required to be fully vaccinated to renew their work passes, given that their worksites and dormitories are settings at higher risk of disease spread.
Maintaining high vaccination coverage
- Given that the COVID-19 vaccination can protect individuals against severe disease and congregated settings in the dormitories, maintaining high vaccination rates is a key defence against COVID-19 transmission in the dormitories. MWs are encouraged to take the bivalent vaccine at
these locations for better protection against severe disease and minimise risk of transmission.
- Please refer to Annex A below for the FAQs and share this infographic with your workers. For further queries, you can contact us at www.mom.gov.sg/efeedback.
- You may refer to MOH's press release.
- The Popular Places Pass was introduced to manage crowding at four designated locations on Sundays and public holidays.
- Symptomatic vulnerable MWs refer to those with ARI symptoms, those who are aged >60 years, on dialysis, immunocompromised or with multiple chronic conditions.
- Severe ARI symptoms include, but not limited to high fever, dizziness, vomiting.
- Taken primary series and first booster to achieve minimum protection.
Annex A - Frequently asked questions
Why do MWs need to wear a mask when they are recovering from COVID-19 in their rooms?
Mask-wearing is an effective way of minimising the risk of disease transmission as it reduces the expulsion and transmission of respiratory secretions in COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.
Can the MWs be isolated if they are COVID-positive?
From 1 March 2023, a MW who is unwell should recover in his own room and put on a mask. The dormitory operator may also arrange for the MW to recover in the dormitory isolation facilities until he is well and no longer symptomatic.
Why is mask-wearing still required at the Onboard centre?
This is to mitigate importation risks and maintain vigilance against potential COVID-19 variants from newly arrived MWs from the various countries and regions.
What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated” when applying / renewing one’s work pass?
Work pass holders would be considered fully vaccinated if they have completed their primary series vaccination and taken the first booster dose (i.e. 3 doses of mRNA or 4 doses of Sinovac vaccine). For more information, you may refer to the FAQ.
What does it mean to have up-to-date vaccination status?
Individuals should get their booster dose, within 270 days from the last dose of their primary vaccination series, to achieve minimum protection. After achieving minimum protection, an additional booster dose should be taken 5 to 12 months from their last dose for individuals to be considered as up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination.
If the MW is recovering in the dormitory room, can he leave his room?
The MW is encouraged to stay in his dormitory room if he is still symptomatic and go out only if necessary (e.g. to buy meals). He should also avoid crowded places and refrain from visiting vulnerable persons. If he needs to leave the room, he needs to wear a mask. If the MW is no longer symptomatic and feels well, he may go to work.
Why is my MW’s AccessCode status green even when there is no longer a need to check the MW's AccessCode?
MWs’ AccessCode status will be set to green by default as there are no restrictions to the movement of MWs. They can leave their residence for work regardless of their AccessCode colour status.
Will there be any levy waiver if the MWs are on Movement Restriction Order?
With the shift in COVID recovery protocol, COVID infected MWs will no longer qualify for levy wavier.
13 February 2023