Coronavirus: Singapore eases curbs for migrant workers in dorms | South China Morning Post
Coronavirus: Singapore eases curbs for migrant workers in dorms Singapore’s manpower ministry on Thursday said it would begin easing measures for migrant workers living in dormitories, more than a year after imposing harsh movement restrictions that kept the labourers separated from the community.Under a pilot programme that begins on September 13, about 500 vaccinated workers from dormitories with a high inoculation rate and having had no Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks will be permitted to visit pre-identified locations for six hours each week.
The first area under the scheme is Little India, a neighbourhood popular with Singapore’s Indian community.The workers are required to take an antigen rapid test before and three days after the visit, the ministry added.
Separately, excursions to local attractions will resume and all other workers will also be allowed to visit recreation centres twice a week, up from once currently.Activists and migrant rights groups have long urged the government to loosen the strict measures imposed on the migrant workers.
There are 323,000 low-wage workers in the city state who take on jobs shunned by Singaporeans in industries such as construction and estate maintenance. Most of them live in mega-dormitories or quarters at construction sites.After a large Covid-19 outbreak swept through the dormitories last year, the workers had most of their movement curbed. They were subjected to regular testing and ferried from dormitories to workplaces with minimal interaction with the outside world. Meanwhile, Singapore is shifting the focus of its daily reports to hospitalisation to turn attention to its medical capacity alongside plans to manage the virus as endemic, as the city state’s daily count of Covid-19 cases in the local community rose to the highest it’s ever been.At 81 per cent, Singapore has the highest vaccination rate in the world among countries of more than 1 million people. Yet daily cases – the vast majority of which are mild or asymptomatic – are on the rise.
Migrant workers in Singapore fear job loss after coronavirus quarantine ends There’s signs that Singapore’s mass vaccination is holding down serious cases. While the overall number of daily local cases has doubled in the past week to 347, the number of serious infections requiring supplemental oxygen or intensive care is about the same as last week.
Singapore is changing the way it reports the Covid-19 situation. The Ministry of Health is now leading its daily report with data on serious cases in a shift that focuses attention on its hospital capacity instead of the rising number of cases.The city state will no longer report the number of linked and unlinked cases “as this is no longer as relevant as before, given our current strategy of living with Covid-19”, the ministry said in a statement accompanying its daily update, which will also be cut to once instead of twice a day from Thursday.“We are now in a very different stage of our battle against Covid-19,” the health ministry said. The revamped reports will “reflect the salient issues” such as whether hospital capacity is getting overwhelmed, it said.While the daily report doesn’t list Singapore’s system-wide capacity, previous statements suggest the city state isn’t anywhere close to its limits. For example, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in July said as many as 1,000 ICU beds could be made available to Covid-19 patients if needed. Just six are in ICU now. At its peak, in April of 2020, there were as many as 32 people in ICU.