All standalone blocks used as quarantine facilities in dorms cleared of COVID-19: MOM

Cochrane Lodge I at Admiralty Road West. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Google Maps)
Cochrane Lodge I at Admiralty Road West, one of the purpose-built migrant-worker dormitories in Singapore. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Google Maps)

SINGAPORE — All standalone blocks in purpose-built migrant worker dormitories which are serving as isolation or quarantine facilities have been declared cleared of COVID-19, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

In a media release on Wednesday (19 August), MOM said that all residents in the standalone blocks have either completed their isolation or quarantine, or have been moved to other government facilities depending on their health status.

The ministry expects an additional 20,000 migrant workers getting the Green AccessCode to be able to resume work in the coming days, as the recently cleared dormitories are completing the necessary preparations to ensure the workers’ safety from the coronavirus.

INFO: Ministry of Manpower
INFO: Ministry of Manpower

It expects that there will always be a proportion of workers who are unable to resume work.

This could be due to several reasons, such as: being tested positive for COVID-19 recently; being close contacts and placed under quarantine; being placed on precautionary quarantine while their exposure to a COVID-19 positive case is being established; not having the TraceTogether app installed on their mobile phones; and not doing the required Rostered Routine Testing (RRT).

Strategy to prevent second wave of infections

With the completion of the dormitory-clearance process, MOM has adopted a four-pronged strategy to prevent a second wave of infections in the cleared dormitories:

  • Prevention: Migrant workers staying in the dormitories will be separated by the type of industry that they work in. Safe-distancing measures have also been implemented in the dormitories.

  • Detection: Managing the risk of new outbreaks with medical technology, monitoring rate at which workers report sick with Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), waste water monitoring, and RRT.

  • Containment: Once a new case is detected, the contact tracing effort will commence to determine the close contacts at the dormitory and workplace with reference to the individual’s movement history. Sector agencies will assess the risk at the workplaces and put in place safety timeouts if necessary. Aggressive testing operations will also be conducted.

  • 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 cleared of COVID-19 before they are able to return to work.

“The new infection cases in cleared dormitories and decant sites remind us on the need to be vigilant,” said the MOM in its media release.

“As we gather more real-life data, we will be better able to assess the impact of safe distancing measures and segregation measures. This will help us assess patterns in the spread of infections, and review the extent of quarantine required to contain a detected case.”

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