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Safe Working and Safe Living

  1. The Inter-agency Task Force (ITF) set up to manage the Covid-19 situation at the dormitories is executing Phase Three of its plan, which is to prepare for the recovery of dormitories, and the safe and gradual resumption of business activities.
  2. In the coming weeks, the ITF is aiming to recover dormitories or dormitory blocks, housing up to 60,000 migrant workers (around 20% of all dormitory residents). The ITF will systematically and progressively recover all remaining dormitories in the coming months, by testing and clearing all the residents. It will then ensure that these dormitories implement Safe Living protocols to ensure residents are kept free from infection as they prepare to resume work.
  3. In tandem with the implementation of Safe Living protocols, companies are instituting industry-specific measures to ensure that workplaces are Covid-Safe.
  4. As Singapore moves towards gradually easing circuit breaker measures, the twin emphasis of “Safe Working and Safe Living” will help to reduce the risk of subsequent waves of infection.

    SAFE WORKING

  5. To prevent the re-emergence of community cases as workers return to work, the tripartite partners issued Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the workplace last week. Employers which are allowed to resume their operations are required to implement these measures to protect their workers. 
  6. Sector-specific Safe Management requirements, such as for food and beverage (F&B) establishments, retail establishments, shopping malls, F&B and online retail delivery and for consumers have been set out by Enterprise Singapore. The Economic Development Board has also established Safe Management Measures for the manufacturing sector, and will be doing the same for the marine and process sectors.
  7. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA), in consultation with relevant Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs), will be issuing a set of Covid-Safe Restart Criteria for the resumption of construction work.

    SAFE LIVING

  8. The ITF previously announced the designation of specific Blocks for Recovered Workers (BRWs) to house recovered workers who will be returning to their dormitories. The rooms and blocks will be progressively cleaned out and disinfected across the dormitories, to prepare for the return of recovered workers. Since then, more than 2,000 beds in BRWs have been created. By 18 May, all 43 dormitories are expected to have about 5,400 beds.
  9. As the dormitories fill with recovered workers and workers who tested negative for Covid-19, dormitory operators, employers and workers have to strengthen dormitory management practices and accept necessary changes to their way of life, so that workers can live in dormitories safely. The changes will impact the workers’ movements, and how they interact and socialise with one another.

    Tighter control of entry & exit
  10. A BRW will be physically segregated from the rest of the dormitory. When a BRW has been occupied by recovered workers or workers who tested Covid-negative, we will begin to allow the entry and exit of its occupants, in a carefully regulated way. This will reduce the risk of Covid-19 re-emerging. Dormitory operators will be required to track all movement in and out of the dormitories.
  11. For a start, residents from BRWs will only be permitted to leave for the purpose of work and must return to the BRW after work. This is conditional on their workplace being allowed to operate, and the implementation of Safe Management requirements.
  12. At some point, once we have brought the outbreak in the dormitory under control, it will be possible to consider allowing residents from BRWs to also leave the dormitory for
    non-work reasons. But the workers will still need to adhere to the prevailing safe distancing measures, which also apply to the rest of the community in Singapore. For example, they
    cannot gather in large groups, and additional measures will have to be taken to reduce crowd sizes at the popular locations where workers tend to gather. We will share more details at a later date.

    Limit intermixing of workers
  13. Dormitory operators will have to put in place measures to limit intermixing of workers, so as to minimise the risk of transmission.
  14. Dormitory operators will be required to set up barriers and marked routes from dormitory blocks to common areas and entrances. This will prevent intermixing of workers from different blocks. Within each block, residents will have to continue to stay within their level and rooms, and not move freely to other levels. Within the shared toilet facilities, specific showers, wash basins and toilets will be marked out for occupants of the same room. In other dormitories, residents will already have access to en-suite toilet facilities. Stoves in communal kitchens will be assigned to individual rooms to prevent intermixing during cooking.
  15. When leaving for and returning from work, there will be designated and segregated waiting areas, and staggered pick-up and drop-off timings.
  16. Dormitory operators should also reduce human traffic at communal areas. Minimarts, canteens and shops must operate contactless ordering, such as through calls, text messages or online ordering. Residents will be provided timeslots to use other communal facilities such as kitchens and outdoor recreational areas.

    Remaining vigilant
  17. Residents will continue to be tested regularly. They will have to report their temperature, oxygen level and heart rate daily. The daily report sick routine will have to be sustained. Residents who are unwell will have timely access to medical support from the onsite or regional medical posts, as well as tele-kiosks.
  18. If a resident is tested Covid-positive, close contacts of the infected worker will be isolated or quarantined expeditiously either in onsite or community isolation facilities. Aggressive testing will be done to cut transmission chains.
  19. Many of these measures are already implemented at the dormitories during this period of isolation. The ITF and MOM will work with the Dormitory Association of Singapore, and dormitory operators to ensure they continue to be implemented effectively.

    STAY-HOME NOTICE FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NOT LIVING IN DORMITORIES

  20. On 20 April, construction work permit and S-pass holders and their dependants, were placed on SHN. The SHN will end on 18 May 2359 hours, by which time the workers and their dependants would have served 28 days of self-isolation.
  21. After the SHN, these workers have to continue to adhere strictly to circuit breaker measures, in line with what the rest of the community is subject to. We urge everyone to stay in their residences and avoid going out except to purchase food and daily necessities, procure essential services or for urgent medical needs. If it is necessary for them to leave their residences, they should do so alone and return to their residences immediately after completing their errands. Everyone must observe the circuit breaker measures strictly so that we can quickly break transmissions and bring down the number of cases. At the same time, employers are required to keep MOM updated should there be any change to the registered addresses and mobile numbers of their workers.

    CONCLUSION

  22. The ITF would like to thank workers, employers, dormitory operators and thecommunity for their contributions and effort in dealing with Covid-19. As there is a risk of recurrence, we must remain vigilant in the weeks and months ahead, and ensure theeffective implementation of Safe Working & Safe Living for the protection and benefit of all.