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40,000 Migrant Workers Cleared of COVID-19 Infections

  1. A total of 40,000 migrant workers have been cleared of COVID-19 infections. This means they have either tested negative, or were tested positive but have fully recovered and been discharged. They must also be residing in accommodation where fellow residents have been cleared of the virus.

  2. About 12,000 of them are essential workers who have been moved out earlier from dormitories into government-provided accommodation facilities and have been working thus far. 20,000 workers were transferred to the government-provided accommodation facilities after recovering or testing negative. Another 8,000 are residents of the first batch of 60 dormitories that will be declared as cleared with effect from 1 June 2020, 2359 hours. This first batch consists of 3 Purpose-Built Dormitories (PBDs) and 57 Factory-Converted Dormitories (FCDs) and Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQs).

  3. A cleared dormitory is one where every block within has been declared as cleared of COVID-19 cases. The residents in the cleared blocks / dormitories are workers who have either tested negative, or were tested positive but have fully recovered and been discharged. In consultation with the Ministry of Health, dormitories with low infection incidence were cleared first. Another 11 PBDs and 100 FCDs and CTQs are due to be cleared in the coming weeks1. They will house an estimated 50,000 cleared workers. The list of cleared dormitories and dormitories to be cleared in coming weeks are available here.

  4. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Inter-Agency Task Force (ITF) previously outlined the preparations that all stakeholders – dormitory operators, employers, and migrant workers – must make before we can grant approval for workers in the cleared blocks/dormitories to resume work (details here).

  5. These measures are critical if we are to prevent widespread transmission in future. Even in the cleared blocks / dormitories, residents and their employers as well as the dormitory operators must maintain a high degree of vigilance. As the workers resume work, they will have exposure to other co-workers who may be living elsewhere. This is why they will continue to be regularly tested to allow for early detection and swift isolation of new infections, to minimise chances of clusters forming.

    NEW FEATURE ON SGWORKPASS APP TO FACILITATE STAKEHOLDERS TO CHECK IF WORKERS CAN LEAVE DORMITORIES FOR WORK

  6. In response to requests by dormitory operators and employers to have a way to check the work status of the foreign employees, the ITF and MOM, together with Defence Science and Technology Agency and Government Technology Agency, have created a new “AccessCode” feature on the SGWorkPass mobile app.

  7. For a start, the colour status of the AccessCode takes into account three broad parameters: 

    a. Worker’s health status - they were tested positive earlier and discharged or have been tested negative; 

    b. Worker’s work status - the lead agencies (e.g. Ministry of Trade & Industry, Economic Development Board and Building & Construction Authority) have granted approval2 for his employer to resume business operations; and

    c. Worker’s residence status - his dormitory or block is cleared, and his address is kept updated

  8. AccessCode will generate on SGWorkPass three colours depending on the worker’s status:

    “Green” status: Worker met all conditions and allowed to leave the dormitory for work;

    “Grey” status: Worker’s employer has not been approved to resume work, or the AccessCode does not apply. 
     
    “Red” status: Worker did not meet one or more of the conditions, and not allowed to leave the dormitory for work.

  9. To check their status, workers can use the SGWorkPass app to scan the QR code on their work passes. If they have a “Green” status, their employers can arrange for dedicated transport and work with the dormitory and worksite operators to coordinate pick-up and drop-off timings and locations. Dormitory operators will also check the workers’ status and only allow workers to leave the dormitory if the SGWorkPass shows “Green” status. Companies in the Construction, Marine and Process sectors will also check and only allow those with “Green” status to enter the work sites.

  10. As the AccessCode feature in SGWorkPass is new, we seek the understanding from stakeholders should there be any teething issues in the initial period of implementation. Employers can approach the dormitory operators and MOM at MOM_DormExit_Ops@mom.gov.sg for queries and provide feedback. In the interest of public health and the health of the workers, workers will only be allowed to leave the dormitory if his AccessCode is Green.

    FURTHER ADVISORY

  11. The ITF will continue to systematically test and clear workers and dormitories in the coming weeks and months. In the interim, industry associations are encouraged to explore how to facilitate temporary manpower arrangements within their sectors.

  12. Companies that have obtained permission to operate but are short of workers can reach an agreement with companies in the same sector to temporarily loan recovered or cleared workers. The Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Contractors Association Limited have facilitated similar arrangements like these.
     

FOOTNOTE

  1. The time to clearance depends on many factors, such as size of the dormitory, level of infection within the dormitory, and adherence to safe living measures.
  2. All companies can check the GoBusiness portal if they are allowed to resume operations. Companies in Construction, Marine and Process sectors must apply to BCA and EDB for approval.