Lawrence Wong: Healthy migrant workers to be housed in SAF camps & floating hotels

The capacity of these venues are in the thousands.

Matthias Ang | April 09, 2020, 08:20 PM

Healthy migrant workers will be housed at SAF camps, HDB blocks, floating hotels and Changi Exhibition Centre in order to separate them from infected and suspect cases, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong stated at press conference on April 9.

Wong added that there was a need to reduce the number of workers in each dormitory so as to make the situation more manageable.

As such, workers who are working in essential services will also be moved out to these locations.

Alternative locations must have toilet and shower facilities

In elaborating on the choices of alternate accommodation for the healthy migrant workers, Wong added that the different venues had different capacities.

However, the key here is that all of the locations have toilets and showering facilities, which are essential "to ensure the well-being of the workers."

He highlighted that both the SAF camps and Changi Exhibition Centre are able to easily accommodate thousands, and added that of the 5,000 workers who have moved out of their dormitories, some have already moved into SAF camps.

As for HDB blocks, Wong stated that workers have also been housed at vacated HDB blocks in  Jurong, with the capacity for this location in the thousands.

This comes on top of the 21 vacant HDB blocks at Redhill Close that have already been set aside.

With regard to the floating hotel solution, Wong stated that such locations were typically used for offshore lodging accommodation, for marine and offshore workers.

Here, Wong said that the first of such a location was being activated, with the possibility of being ready "in a matter of days."

The capacity for each floating hotel, he added, was at about 500 workers.

Management at such locations are also key

Wong further stated that apart from the venues, management at such locations are also key to ensuring that the daily needs of workers are met, that their well-being is ensured, and that necessary precautions are taken.

In stressing the importance of proper management, Wong said:

"If there is for example, somebody who should...fall sick in one of these alternative venues, then we want to be able to quickly isolate them and not end up with more clusters in these venues either."

Summing up the overall situation, Wong added:

"Essentially we are sparing no effort to contain the spread of the virus in the foreign worker dormitories. We have a responsibility for these foreign workers who have come all the way here at considerable expense to make a living in Singapore. So we will do our part, and we will do our very best to take care of them and ensure their safety, and their well-being."

Top image collage left image from The Singapore Army Facebook, right image from Changi Exhibition Centre Facebook