According to the Indian High Commission, more and more Indian workers are returning home as Singapore businesses cut down on workforce following the severe impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"On an average, about 100 Indian nationals in Singapore continue to register daily with the High Commission here for flights back home, with over 11,000 having registered so far," Indian High Commissioner P Kumaran said.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health said it has asked hospitals to defer non-urgent surgeries and admissions until further notice, in a bid to increase potential capacity for handling Covid-19 patients. A ruling that has barred all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have travelled to India within the last 14 days from entering or transiting through Singapore since April 24 has also had an adverse effect on the city-state's economy.
High Commissioner Kumaran said the high commission would continue to work to ensure enough repatriation flights, even though formal flights between Singapore and India have not resumed.
The high commission has repatriated over 17,000 Indian nationals by arranging 120 special flights since May, he added. Sectors such as construction and landscape maintenance – which employ many Indian and Bangladeshi workers – have been hard hit even as they have faced an already diminished workforce since the onset of the pandemic last year.
The city-state saw its first fatality due to complications from COVID-19 in nearly two months over the weekend. Concerns were raised that this could be the start of a new wave of cases that has been seen in countries across the globe.