Migrant workers can return to community once a month in pilot scheme
Under pilot scheme, they will be tested routinely and will have to wear contact tracing devices
Migrant workers in some dormitories will be able to return to the community once a month in a pilot scheme starting in the first quarter of next year, the authorities announced yesterday.
This will be subject to compliance with rostered routine testing, wearing of contact tracing devices and safe living measures, said Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng during a multi-ministry task force press conference.
The move will also follow the distribution of contact tracing devices to more than 450,000 workers living in dormitories, or working in the construction, marine and process sectors, which is to be completed by the end of this month.
These devices, called BluePass tokens, are aimed at improving the ability to isolate and ring-fence potential cases once they are detected, said a joint statement by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Manpower.
The pilot scheme comes after the announcement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday that Singapore will enter the third phase of its reopening on Dec 28.
Easing of restrictions on migrant worker dormitories began last month.
Workers in dorms have been under movement restrictions since April when the first dorms were gazetted as isolation areas after a spike in cases.
Workers from approved dormitories can now use communal facilities to cook their own food on rest days and recreational facilities such as gyms and basketball courts, subject to dorm operators' approval.
They can also visit specified recreation centres on their rest days, although the workers are still largely required to stay in their dorms except when they are going to work or running essential errands.
Dr Tan said that other than being able to use communal facilities in dorms, workers can now visit recreation centres more often for their daily needs, such as for the barber or remittance services.
"We are also working with recreational centres to bring in more activities, including movie and sports screening, some pasar malam (night market) perhaps," he added.
He stressed that the crisis is far from over even as more restrictions are eased in the coming weeks and months.
Measures must continue to be taken, such as wearing of BluePass tokens so isolation can be done very quickly if there is a new infection, he added.
Meanwhile, the earliest cohort of migrant workers who have recovered from Covid-19 and are currently exempt from routine testing are being monitored to see how their antibodies change over time.
Routine testing will resume for these workers if their antibodies start to fade, or if there is evidence of reinfection among them.