Dorms & Quarantine Facilities In Purpose-Built Dorms All Cleared Of Covid-19

When Covid-19 started spreading like wildfire in migrant workers’ dormitories, we never thought we’d see the day that it would be over.

But the day seems to have come. All dorms have been cleared of Covid-19, and that’s including the standalone blocks in Purpose-Built Dormitories that have been used as isolation or quarantine facilities.

A Purpose-Built Dormitory housing migrant workers.

Residents of standalone blocks moved or completed quarantine

A statement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) conveyed the joyous news on Wednesday (19 Aug).

Previously, in a statement on 11 Aug, MOM had said that all dorms had been cleared, except for 17 standalone blocks in 6 purpose-built dormitories.

There abodes were repurposed as quarantine centres for migrant workers.

Now, the residents in these 17 standalone blocks have either completed their isolation or quarantine, or they’ve been moved to other government facilities, MOM said.


333,000 workers allowed to resume work

With the clearing of all dorms and standalone blocks, more workers will be able to go back to work.

As of Wednesday (19 Aug), a total of 333,000 workers will be able to do that, The Straits Times reported.

These workers are all in the construction, marine and process (CMP) sectors.

That figure represents 86% of workers in these sectors, out of a total of 387,000.

On 11 Aug, the number was 315,000, or 81%.

As for CMP workers in dorms, 84% or 240,000 can return to work, out of a total of 286,000.

20,000 more residents should be allowed soon

In its statement, MOM also said it expects 20,000 residents to be allowed to resume work.

That will happen when the recently cleared dorms complete the necessary steps in order for these workers to get the Green AccessCode.

The Green AccessCode indicates that a worker can leave their residence for work if these steps are completed:

  1. Downloaded and registered the latest version of the TraceTogether app
  2. Downloaded the FWMOMCare app to report health status daily.
  3. Health status must be Covid-19-negative or recovered from Covid-19
  4. Must not be on Stay-Home Notice or Quarantine Order
  5. Must stay in cleared dorms or outside dorms
  6. Residential address and mobile number updated on FWMOMCare

According to MOM, half of the 20,000 don’t have updated addresses. Thus, they have Red AccessCode and can’t resume work yet.

Thus, employers and dorm operators will be reminded to update workers’ addresses.


Not all workers will be able to work

However, not all workers will get to the Green Accesscode all the time.

MOM said there will always be some workers who will get the Red Accesscode.

This is due to several reasons:

  1. A positive Covid-19 test
  2. Quarantine due to being close contacts of an infected person
  3. Precautionary quarantine as they are likely to be close contacts, and an investigation is in process
  4. TraceTogether isn’t installed or is no longer install on their phone
  5. They didn’t go for rostered routine testing when they’re supposed to

Preventing another spread

Going forward, MOM has a “multi-layered strategy” so that the virus won’t spread again in cleared dorms.

  1. Prevention: There will be safe distancing measures in dorms, and workers will be cohorted depending on where they work.
  2. Detection: New cases will be detected early by way of medical technology, monitoring of those who report sick due to respiratory infections, monitoring of waste water and rostered routine testing.
  3. Containment: Contact tracing will be used to determine close contacts of a case. Safety timeouts will be implemented depending on the risk, and aggressive testing will be done.
  4. Isolation: A 14-day quarantine will be imposed on immediate close contacts of workers who have tested positive. Other close contacts will be quarantined on-site and tested.


A long slog to eradicate Covid-19

As we celebrate the news that all dorms have been cleared, do bear in mind that it doesn’t mean Covid-19 can’t return to them.

New cases have already been found in cleared dorms, causing more workers to be quarantined.

It’s evident that it will be a long slog to eradicate Covid-19 completely in the migrant worker population.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.