The Government will further ease restrictions for migrant workers residing in dormitories by expanding the community visit programme.
Up to 3,000 vaccinated migrant workers per day will be able to visit any location within Singapore from 3 December 2021. Migrant workers will be allowed up to eight hours per visit.
The Multi-Ministry Taskforce made the announcement at a press conference on 15 November 2021.
Under the previous pilot community visit programme that started in September, only 3,000 vaccinated migrant workers per week were allowed to visit the community. The visits were restricted to Little India and Geylang Serai.
Unvaccinated migrant workers will not be allowed to visit the community.
Pre-visit ART will still be required for vaccinated migrant workers before they leave their dormitories.
“With the resilience in dormitories built-up, we have since September, started progressively eased movement restrictions for migrant workers residing in the dormitories into the community.
“The programme has been well received by our migrant workers and no infections have been detected amongst the participants who took part in the pilot thus far,” said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng, who was at the conference.
The Government will also make recreation-centre visits more accessible for migrant workers.
Migrant workers will be allowed to visit the recreation centres daily with an extended duration of eight hours per visit. This is up from the thrice-weekly, four-hour cap on recreation-centre visits currently.
Vaccinated migrant workers will not be required to undergo a pre-visit ART to be allowed entry to the recreation centres. The requirement for the pre-visit ART will only apply to migrant workers who are unvaccinated.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is also looking at further increasing access to recreation centres, and allow migrant workers to visit any centre of their choice from mid-December.
MOM added that it is currently working with recreation centre operators to increase the variety of activities at the centres, such as organising screenings of movies and sports games, and putting in place processes to manage a larger number of visits from migrant workers.
“Our stakeholders’ support remains a vital part of the ecosystem of care to and for our migrant workers. We seek employers’ and dormitory operators’ support for their workers to fully utilise this programme. We would also need the support of the recreation centre operators and NGOs,” said Dr Tan.
The Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) Executive Director Bernard Menon welcomed the announcement.
He said that as a recreation-centre operator, MWC has had first-hand experience with the thrice-weekly visits at the MWC Recreation Club @ Soon Lee over the last two weeks and during Deepavali.
"We think it is good that there is further easing. The workers have been subject to movement controls for a very long time and the easing will have a positive impact on their social and emotional well-being," said Mr Menon.
Some 98 per cent of migrant workers residing in dormitories are fully vaccinated, according to figures from the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Migrant workers are also taking up booster vaccinations at an encouraging pace as they become eligible. About 61 per cent of migrant workers will be eligible for booster vaccinations up till January next year, said Dr Tan.
MOH added that COVID-19 infections in the dormitories have stabilised over the last few weeks with an average daily number of 143 migrant workers testing PCR positive in the last week.
Migrant workers are also required to undergo weekly testing, regardless of vaccination status, except for recovered workers.
Dr Tan also thanked migrant workers for their continued patience and trust in the Government.
“We’ve only been able to achieve this progress with all of your cooperation and all of your support. Now as the COVID-19 situation evolves, we will continue to prioritise your safety and health as we monitor the situation, and as we look at easing the restrictions further,” he said.