MOM Approval Not Needed To Move Workers Out Of Dorms, New Arrivals Shouldn’t Be On Quarantine Or SHN

As we round up the Covid-19 cases in migrant worker dormitories, all of them have already been cleared of the virus as all workers living in dorms have been tested.

Unfortunately, a Covid-19 case was found in a cleared dorm, causing about 800 workers to be quarantined again.

Despite that, employers who will be moving their workers in or out of the cleared dorms now do not have to seek approval from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), it said.

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No permission need, as long as steps taken

In an advisory published by the MOM on Saturday (15 Aug), the ministry confirmed that employers and dorm operators will be moving their workers in and out of cleared dorms so as to separate them into cohorts based on the Covid-Safe Worker Accommodation requirements.

They won’t need to ask permission from MOM for this now, but only if they take these steps before moving the workers:

  1. They must check whether the workers are healthy and not on quarantine or Stay-Home Notice.
  2. Employers must send their workers for regular routine testing by booking appointments through the Swab Registration System of the Health Promotion Board
  3. Operators must update workers’ addresses in dorm nominal rolls, taking out departing workers and inserting new ones accordingly. The workers also must have apps like TraceTogether on their smartphones before they can go to work.

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Not all workers should enter cleared dorms

When it comes to letting workers enter cleared dorms, there’s a set of criteria.

Obviously, the newly arrived workers should not be serving quarantine or Stay-Home Notice

They should also fulfill at least 1 of the following criteria:

  1. Have tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 14 days
  2. Have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 180 days
  3. Be under regular routine testing or Active Surveillance Swab, and required by the Joint Taskforce or sectoral agencies to move.

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Onboarding period for new residents

New workers who don’t meet the above criteria will be subject to an “onboarding period”, said the MOM.

That means they must be housed in a separate room from the other workers until they test negative.

If the operator can’t do that, then they may not be housed in the dorm.

During the onboarding period, the new arrivals may not leave their dorm for work, essential errands and emergencies.

Thus, if the new arrival is infected with Covid-19, there’s a lower chance he’ll infect the rest of the residents, MOM said.

More safeguards to protect workers

As workers are moved in and out of dorms, there may be worries that new Covid-19 cases may occur.

As such, MOM is setting up more safeguards beyond the usual safe management guidelines as the majority of workers are slated to return to work by the end of August.

Hopefully, our workers can get back to work safely and prevent a resurgence in cases.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.