Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to PQ on FDW exposure to COVID-19
NOTICE PAPER NO. 137 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 3 NOVEMBER
QUESTION NO. 358 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER TO QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER NOT ANSWERED BY END OF QUESTION TIME
MP: Dr Tan Wu Meng
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and what proportion have tested positive for COVID-19; (b) what is the estimated prevalence of COVID-19 among FDWs; and (c) what precautions are in place to (i) minimise FDWs' exposure to COVID-19 and (ii) protect FDWs from becoming carriers of COVID-19, whether as newly arrived FDWs or as in-Singapore transfer FDWs.
As of 28 October 2020, 139 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) have tested positive for COVID-19. Of these, 109 were imported cases who tested positive while serving Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities on arrival, with testing at the end of the SHN period. The remaining 30 were locally transmitted cases, with the last of such cases being reported on 19 July 2020. These 30 locally transmitted FDW cases are part of the 2268 total local community cases as of 28 October 2020, and the infection rate of 0.01% among the FDW population is lower than the overall community rate of 0.04%.
24 out of the 30 locally transmitted FDW cases were linked to a previous case in the employer’s household. In other words, the infection likely spread from the employer’s household member to the FDW. Of the remaining 6 cases, none had spread to anyone in the employer’s household; one is linked to the Mustafa cluster while the rest do not have any established links.
The Ministry has issued advisories and distributed educational materials to employers and FDWs to remind them to take appropriate measures to minimise FDWs’ exposure to COVID-19. We encourage employers and FDWs to work out arrangements for FDWs to take their rest day on a weekday when public spaces are less crowded. FDWs have been asked to download and activate the TraceTogether app, or to collect the TraceTogether token, to facilitate contact tracing if required. They are encouraged to make use of e-remittance services, so they do not have to physically visit remittance agents.
- All incoming FDWs are subject to the same entry requirements as inbound travellers with the same travel history. These include serving SHN at a suitable accommodation and testing negative at the end of the SHN period before being released. The vast majority of incoming FDWs are required to undergo pre-departure testing within 72 hours before they depart for Singapore and serve a 14-day SHN at a dedicated facility upon arrival. We will continue to regularly review our border measures, so as to manage the risk of importation and mitigate transmission to the local community.