Inter-Agency Taskforce to Support Foreign Workers and Dormitory Operators During Circuit Breaker Period
Whole-of-community effort required to ensure well-being of foreign workers and improve conditions at dormitories
- The conditions at the two dormitories gazetted as isolation areas continued to improve as dedicated multi-agency teams worked round-the-clock.
- In view of the “circuit breaker” measures kicking in from today till 4 May to stem local transmission of Covid-19, foreign workers are not able to go to work. An Inter-agency Taskforce has been set up to provide support to foreign workers and dormitory operators during this period.
- The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will assist the operators of S11 Dormitory @ Punggol as well as Westlite Toh Guan Dormitory, to look after the well-being of their residents, such as ensuring that they get timely supply of catered meals, and the premises are kept clean. A similar team has been deployed to Toh Guan Dormitory, which has also been gazetted as an isolation area. These teams are supported by the Ministry of Health, National Environment Agency, the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force, Migrant Workers’ Centre and other agencies.
- The task force will progressively deploy inter-agency teams to the rest of the dormitories to support their operators as they implement the circuit breaker measures.
MEALS AND SNACKS
- Multiple professional caterers have been engaged to provide meals to foreign workers. To date, the caterers have delivered close to 160,000 portions of meals and snacks. The caterers have been adjusting their menus to cater to the dietary preferences of the residents.
- After some initial hitches, dormitory residents have now been able to receive their meals in a timely and orderly fashion. Meals are delivered by the caterers and distributed to resident workers in batches to ensure freshness, and to stagger meal times. Over the last two days, the meal distribution timings have improved. We will continue to work with the dormitory operators and caterers to further improve the efficiency of the meal distribution process.
CLEANLINESS IN THE DORMITORIES
- Both dormitory operators continued to ramp up cleaning routines, and cope with the increased usage of washroom facilities and the higher volumes of trash generated, as resident workers now spend the entire day in the premises. Working under the guidance of NEA, the operators have stepped up their waste management and sanitation regimes. The hygiene conditions at the two dormitories have improved from the previous days.
- For example, the dormitories have increased the frequency of refuse collection and removal from the premises for disposal from once daily, to three times per day. The disinfection and cleaning of the common areas and washroom facilities are being carried out three times per day.
- The upkeep of cleanliness and hygiene levels in the dormitories is an enormous task. We will continue to work with the operators, as they ensure that premises such as the rooms and common areas are disinfected, and other sanitation activities such as clearance of trash are done regularly.
CARE PACKS AND ON-SITE MEDICAL FACILITIES FOR FOREIGN WORKERS
- All 20,000 resident workers in S11 and Westlite have received care packs consisting of masks, thermometers and hand sanitisers. A similar care pack will be distributed to resident workers at Toh Guan Dormitory. From today, our teams at the dormitories will work with operators to ensure that resident workers monitor their temperature twice daily, and also don masks when they step out of their rooms to collect their meals or use washroom facilities.
- Basic medical facilities have been set up at S11 and Westlite to take care of the health of the residents. Those who become unwell will be relocated and housed separately to prevent them from infecting their room-mates.
WHOLE-OF-COMMUNITY EFFORT REQUIRED AT THE DORMITORIES
- MOM will continue to keep a close eye on the dormitory conditions and will intervene proactively to ensure standards. Our officers will also follow up on feedback from the residents, and work with dormitory operators on improvements. We appreciate the support of foreign worker ambassadors from the Migrant Workers’ Centre who have been on-site throughout this period and engaging the residents.
- The gazetting of dormitories as isolation areas is a major decision to protect the health of our foreign workers. They build on precautions that had been progressively implemented at foreign worker dormitories throughout Singapore since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. These include the closure of non-essential amenities such as gyms and libraries, prevention of inter-mingling between blocks, and the staggering of meal and recreation times.
- Dormitory residents have a role to play too. They can:
a) help maintain cleanliness and hygiene within the dormitory premises. For example, they should make use of the trash bags provided to them to properly dispose of food packaging after consumption, and assist to bring the trash bags to designated rubbish points, so as to keep their rooms and common areas clean.
b) cooperate with temperature taking and other instructions to ensure their health.
c) cooperate with dormitory operators and do not impede meal distributions so that everyone can be served their meals faster.
- We seek the residents and public’s understanding and patience as we continue to work with the dormitory operators to resolve the ground challenges and ensure the workers’ well-being.