With effect from August 19, all dormitories have been declared cleared of COVID-19 (including the standalone blocks in Purpose-Built Dormitories serving as isolation/quarantine facilities), said the Ministry of Manpower in a press release.
“All residents in the standalone blocks have either completed their isolation/quarantine, or been moved to other government facilities depending on their health status,” the release said.
Approximately 86 per cent of foreign workers in the construction, marine and process sectors have been allowed to resume work i.e. they have received the Green AccessCode, which means they can return to their jobs.
“We expect the recently cleared dormitories to soon complete all the necessary preparations, with an additional 20,000 residents expected to have Green AccessCode," said MOM. "Half of these residents currently have Red AccessCode as their addresses are not updated. Reminders will be sent to dormitory operators and employers to update workers’ addresses accordingly."
MOM has said that they expect that moving forward there will always be a proportion of workers who have a Red AccessCode. This is due to several possible reasons:
- They tested positive for COVID-19 recently and are still undergoing treatment;
- They are close contacts and placed under quarantine;
- They are placed on precautionary quarantine while their exposure to a COVID-positive case is being established;
- They no longer have TraceTogether installed on their mobile device; or
- They are required to undergo Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) but did not do so.
MOM has said that they have adopted a multi-layered strategy to prevent a second wave of infections in the cleared dormitories as follows:
1. Prevention - Migrant workers staying in the dormitories will be cohorted by the type of industry that they work in. Safe Distancing Measures have also been implemented in the dormitories.
2. Detection - Using medical technology, monitoring of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) report sick rate, waste water monitoring and Rostered Routine Testing (RRT), MOM will sieve out new cases early and perform the necessary containment arrestment efforts.
3. Containment - Upon the detection of a new case, MOM will initiate contact tracing to determine the close contacts at the dormitory and workplace. Sector agencies will work closely with the employers to assess the risk at the workplaces and put in place safety timeouts if required. Aggressive testing operations will also be conducted to arrest a possible second wave of infection.
4. Isolation - Once immediate close contacts of the positive migrant workers have been identified, they will undergo a 14-day quarantine at a dedicated facility. Other close contacts will be quarantined on-site to undergo tests to ensure that they are COVID-cleared before they are able to return to work.
“The new infection cases in cleared dormitories and decant sites remind us of the need to be vigilant. As we gather more real-life data, we will be better able to assess the impact of Safe Distancing Measures (SDM) and segregation measures,” said MOM. “This will help us assess patterns in the spread of infections, and review the extent of quarantine required to contain a detected case. Our priority will be to prevent and arrest new infections through early detection, timely containment and effective isolation.”