21 vacant HDB blocks at Redhill to house some healthy migrant workers in coming weeks

These workers work in essential services like cleaning and facilities management.

Ashley Tan | April 08, 2020, 02:14 PM

Several HDB blocks will be dedicated to housing migrant workers in the near future.

Redhill Close blocks to house migrant workers

21 vacant HDB blocks at Redhill Close had earlier undergone the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), and are currently going through refurbishments by HDB.

These vacant blocks will subsequently house migrant workers who are healthy and working in essential services such as cleaning and facilities management, the Ministry for National Development revealed following Mothership queries.

The workers will progressively occupy the three-room flats in these blocks in the coming weeks once refurbishment works are completed.

This alternative accommodation is the result of an urgent need to house healthy migrant workers away from cramped dormitories, from which a number of Covid-19 clusters have rapidly emerged from in the past week.

This is so that the workers can continue delivering essential services.

On Apr. 5, the Ministry of Manpower announced the gazetting of two migrant worker dorms—S11 Dormitory @ Punggol and Westlite Toh Guan dormitory—as isolation areas.

The roughly 20,000 workers staying in the dorms have all been placed under quarantine.

Since the move, grave concerns have been raised about the deplorable conditions at the S11 dorm, where workers stay in rooms next to overflowing rubbish bins and cook in filthy kitchens flooded with dirty water.

Conditions are also cramped and crowded, with little to no safe distancing measures in place.



The situation has since improved in the past few days, with the management of S11 dorm carrying out thorough cleaning of its living areas.

MOM released a statement on Apr. 6 acknowledging the challenges in preparing the dormitories for isolation.

Co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce Lawrence Wong also said in Parliament on Apr. 7 that the Taskforce would be putting in place measures to manage the infection in foreign worker dormitories.

This includes moving workers out to other dormitories, ensure safe distancing compliance in dormitories, and stepping up testing of workers who stay in dormitories.

MND added in their statement to Mothership that they would continue to activate other locations to provide alternative accommodation to workers if needed.

As of Apr. 7, 39 of the 105 new Covid-19 cases involve migrant workers linked to dormitory clusters.

The S11 dorm cluster has also grown to 98 cases.



Top photo from Google Maps