COVID-19: 24 foreign workers permanently banned for flouting circuit breaker measures

Photo from Google Street View
Dormitories at Tuas South area. PHOTO: Google Street View

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revoked the work passes of 24 holders and permanently banned them from working in Singapore for flouting circuit breaker measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In a media release on Monday, MOM said it stepped up inspections at factory-converted dormitories to ensure that living conditions are acceptable, and that the well-being of the dorm residents are taken care of.

MOM officers also checked that the dorm operators and employers adhere to the enhanced safe distancing measures. Among these measures are ensuring that employees stay in their rooms as much as possible, minimise interactions with those not living in the same room and leave the premises only if they need to purchase essential goods and services.

“Despite past enforcements carried out in the vicinity of Tuas View Square, our inspectors found 24 work pass holders eating, drinking, and gathering in groups. To send a clear signal of the seriousness of the offense, MOM has decided to revoke all 24 work passes and permanently barred the individuals from working in Singapore,” MOM said.

At least 17 COVID-19 clusters linked to foreign worker dormitories have been identified thus far, including the largest cluster at S11 Dormitory@Punggol, which is linked to 365 cases.

Eight such dorms have been gazetted as isolation areas, including the newly confirmed cluster at Acacia Lodge and Cochrane Lodge II.

Between Saturday and Monday, MOM officers inspected over 600 dorms at Sungei Kadut, Tuas and other locations across Singapore. The vast majority of the dorms had instituted safe distancing measures and health checks for their residents.

Minor lapses were found in 57 dorms, with the most prevalent issue being a lack of sickbays and isolation areas. The cleanliness levels of some of these dorms were also found to be “unacceptable”, MOM said.

MOM will complete the inspections of the remaining 600 dorms in the next two days.

Separately, MOM issued an additional advisory to employers of foreign workers living in the dorms, and other living arrangements on Monday to remind their employees to observe the safe distancing measures.

Employers are reminded to continue to pay the salaries of their workers promptly and look after their well-being during the circuit breaker period. MOM said it will not hesitate to revoke the work pass privileges of errant employers.

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