Singapore on Tuesday (May 19) reported 450 new coronavirus cases among foreign workers, many of them Indian nationals, and just one case among Singaporean citizens, taking the total to 28,794.
Of the new 451 cases, only one is a Singaporean citizen or a permanent resident while all others are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories, said the Health Ministry in its preliminary daily update.
Meanwhile, about 85,000 foreign construction workers living in public housing and private residences are being allowed to leave their homes on Tuesday, with their stay-home notice (SHN) ending on Monday at 11.59 pm. They must, however, continue to abide by circuit breaker measures and head out only for necessities, like buying food, reported The Straits Times.
The move does not apply to construction workers living in dormitories such as purpose-built dormitories, factory-converted dormitories and temporary quarters on construction sites. They have to wait until after June 1. The restriction on movement was imposed as a precautionary measure on April 20, after construction sites looked set to be potential hotbeds of infection. The SHN was slated to last till May 4, but was extended after the number of infected construction work pass holders living outside purpose-built dormitories continued to rise.
Advisories on the latest move were sent to employers last Friday (May 15) by the Manpower Ministry and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), reminding them to inform their employees to abide by circuit breaker measures even after the SHN ends.
Much like the rest of Singapore, foreign workers can go out only for specific purposes such as buying food and groceries or to seek urgent medical attention.
About 1,80,000 foreign workers and their dependants were affected by the SHN, said a report by The Straits Times. Currently, only 5 per cent of the construction workforce are at work on critical projects that include those which cannot be left idle for too long for safety reasons.