Vaccinated migrant workers can visit Little India in pilot plan, over a year after lockdown

·Editorial Team
·2 min read
Migrant workers at dormitories in Singapore.
Migrant workers at dormitories in Singapore. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Vaccinated migrant workers in dormitories will be allowed to visit the community as part of a pilot programme, for the first time since they were placed under lockdown, partial or otherwise, in April last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a media release on Thursday (9 September) that, from next Monday, up to 500 vaccinated migrant workers from dormitories with good safe living measures, no positive COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, and high vaccination rates will be allowed to visit pre-identified locations for six hours each week.

Workers under this pilot will be required to take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) before and three days after their visit.

The first identified location is Little India. MOM will evaluate the pilot after a month to see how to safely expand the scope and scale. 

More frequent visits to recreation centres

All migrant workers will also be able to visit recreation centres more frequently, up to two times a week. During the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period earlier this year, visits to the centres were suspended temporarily, and were resumed in July for once a week.

MOM said in its media release that it will work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to introduce activities such as movie screenings, wellness, sporting and leisure events, and religious services at the recreation centres and in dormitories. 

Workers will be able to visit centres within 48 hours of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, or 24 hours of a negative ART result as part of the new mandatory ART between their rostered routine testing. 

Those who are looking to visit the centres for the second time in the same week, outside of the baseline test windows, can do so with a negative ART result, which can be done at the centres.

Organised excursions by NGOs for vaccinated migrant workers to local attractions will resume. These outings have been suspended since the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period. Participants will have to take pre-event ARTs.

90 per cent of workers completed vaccination

MOM said that with over 90 per cent of workers having completed the full regimen of vaccination, the dormitories are more resilient and better prepared to handle any outbreaks.

"We have adopted a calibrated approach to gradually ease movement restrictions for migrant workers, so as to manage public health risks," it said. "We will adopt a vaccination-differentiated approach, with unvaccinated individuals required to exercise stricter safe management measures or undergo additional testing to protect themselves and those around them."

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