Ease in Movement for Migrant Workers as Singapore
More than a year after migrant workers began being confined to their living quarters following massive Covid-19 outbreaks in dormitories, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is finalising plans to loosen restrictions on their movements. Tan See Leng, who is the Manpower Minister mentions that a series of measures have been worked out, and the only thing left is to find a “safe window”.
It should be noted that an year back in Singapore, it is evident that life has been very tough for the migrant workers in the dormitories, especially due to the outbreaks, the lockdowns, the suicides.
From a public health point of view, if COVID is declared that the disease is endemic, it means that it will continue to circulate in the community and people accept it, just like chicken pox, or influenza. Ministers in the country are concerned that it might begin to put a strain on the health system.
It has become even important to blur boundaries between what is pandemic and what is endemic. Even the government needs to articulate and come out quickly, to be emphatic and decisive in defining what it means to be Covid-endemic and to be resilient. It should all depend on variants like capacity of health system capacity, the number of ICU beds, the number of patients requiring oxygen, and the vaccination status.
See Leng further added by saying that the crowded and unsanitary conditions at the dorms, which were a big factor in the outbreaks last year and had come under criticism, will also become a thing of the past, with an overhaul planned for the “dorm universe“. Giving a glimpse of how the dorms of the future will look like, there will be different, self-contained zones which can be ring-fenced should an outbreak happen, so that fewer workers are affected.