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Food Distribution, Cleanliness and Hygiene Standards at Sungei Tengah Lodge and Tampines Dormitory Stabilised within 48 hours

  1.  The Inter-agency Task Force led by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has adopted a “Stabilise-Replicate-Sustain” strategy to manage transmission of COVID-19 at dormitories. With the experiences gleaned from the management of the first three dormitories gazetted as isolation areas in the earlier part of this week, the Taskforce is able to stabilise the food distribution, cleanliness and hygiene standards at Sungei Tengah Lodge Dormitory and Tampines Dormitory within 48 hours of them being gazetted as isolation areas.
  2. On 5 and 6 April 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) gazetted the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, Westlite Toh Guan Dormitory and Toh Guan Dormitory as isolation areas. As the gazetting of dormitories was an enormous undertaking, MOM’s teams on the ground faced initial challenges pertaining to the timely distribution of meals, as well as cleanliness and sanitary conditions issues due to an increased usage of facilities and high volumes of trash generated as resident workers now spend the entire day at the dormitories during the circuit breaker period.
  3. Dedicated Forward Assurance and Support Teams, or FAST teams comprising of officers from either the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and MOM were set up and deployed to work with the dormitory operators. Over the last few days, we were able to replicate learnings and best practices in the management of the first three dormitories, to quickly normalise operations and living conditions at Sungei Tengah Lodge Dormitory and Tampines Dormitory when they were gazetted on 8 April 2020 and 9 April 2020 respectively.

    REPLICATING BEST PRACTICES

  4. The primary objective of the FAST teams is to stabilise and normalise living conditions at the dorm to ensure the well-being, health and safety of the foreign workers residing at the dormitories. Some of the best practices implemented at Sungei Tengah Lodge Dormitory and Tampines Dormitory include:

    Food distribution. To ensure timely distribution of meals to dormitory residents, FAST worked closely with the dormitory operators and caterers on operational details, from the menu down to the timings of when the food will be dispatched from the caterer’s kitchen. 
    o For smaller dormitories, food distribution is usually done by having representatives collect the meals for their rooms. However, Sungei Tengah Lodge Dormitory has over 24,000 residents spread out over 10 13-storey residential blocks. 
    o Given the size of the dormitory, FAST implemented a key learning from earlier experiences. The teams worked with caterers to pack meals according to the number of persons and dietary preferences of each room, which were then delivered directly to the rooms. This helped to streamline the process and reduce meal delivery timings significantly.

    Cleanliness and hygiene. In anticipation of the additional demands on cleaning and sanitation needs, the FAST teams worked with the dormitory operators to immediately secure additional manpower and resources to manage clearing of waste and increased frequency of routines as such cleaning of common facilities.
    o At Sungei Tengah Lodge Dormitory, the dormitory operator tripled the number of cleaners from six per residential block to 18. The clearing of trash and cleaning and sanitation of common areas and facilities has been increased from once a day to three times a day.
    o At Tampines Dormitory which currently houses about 2,000 workers, the dormitory operator has increased the number of cleaning staff from 10 to 12. The clearing of trash and cleaning and sanitation of common areas and facilities has been increased from twice a day to three times a day. The working hours for some of the cleaning staff have also been extended to cope with the additional demands.
  5. The Inter-agency Task Force will continue to replicate what we have found to work at the isolated areas, in the rest of the purpose-built dormitories. The operations at these dormitories will be progressively brought to the same level and standards as those that are gazetted as isolation areas.

    SAFE DISTANCING MEASURES
  6. Safe distancing measures have been implemented at dormitories gazetted as isolation areas. Dormitory residents are required to stay in their rooms and only leave their rooms to collect food and other supplies, or to use the washroom.
  7. Additionally, we will continue to reduce the number of workers in each dormitory in order to implement effective safe distancing measures within the dormitories. Safe distancing would be observed during the collection of food and supplies, sending remittance, and during personal activity time. These safe distancing measures are necessary to ensure of the health of resident workers.