Written Answer by Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng on PQ on easing of restrictions for migrant workers
NOTICE PAPER NO. 702 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 14 SEPTEMBER 2021
QUESTION NO. 1059 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
MP: Ms Ng Ling Ling
To ask the Minister for Manpower whether there is a plan and timeline for the easing of movement restrictions and involvement in more social activities for migrant workers, especially those who have been vaccinated, to ensure their mental well-being is taken care of.
NOTICE PAPER NO. 683 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 14 SEPTEMBER 2021
QUESTION NO. 1120 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
MP: Mr Leon Perera
To ask the Minister for Manpower in respect of migrant workers in dormitories who have had their movements restricted for over a year (a) what percentage of these migrant workers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19; (b) whether Singapore's plan to treat COVID-19 as "endemic" extends to these migrant workers and, if so, how so; (c) whether the Government is looking into easing these movement restrictions; and (d) if so, what is the timeline for easing restrictions.
1. Over 90% of migrant workers residing in dormitories are fully vaccinated, similar to that of the adult population in general community. As we transit towards a COVID resilient nation, we must not lift these restrictions too quickly and risk unwinding the gains we have so painstakingly made in the last one year.
2. We are now also concerned, as with the general population, that high vaccination rates, and earlier low infections from our testing and Safe Living Measures, will not lead to complacency and a re-ignition of cases which would severely affect the workers' physical as well as mental health.
3. MOM's strategy is to take a careful and calibrated approach to the easing of movement restrictions for migrant workers. We are very mindful of the well-being of the migrant workers, but are also responsible for safeguarding their health. Both in the community and in the dormitories, the aim now is to slow the spread of infection so that restrictions can be eased without a sharp spike in infections.
4. Let me explain the measures we have taken. First, we have substantially eased restrictions within the dormitories, and have allowed a range of social activities subject to group size restrictions and safe management measures. Second, we will increase the frequency for workers to visit RCs.
5. Concurrently, we are working with RC operators and community partners, to introduce programmes and new offerings to make RC visits more engaging. Third, we will pilot community visits with guided itinerary for vaccinated workers to places of interest.
6. We will monitor and adjust the frequency and scope of these community visits.