SINGAPORE — From the end of the month, vaccinated migrant workers will be able to visit Geylang Serai, in addition to Little India, as part of the pilot community visit programme to ease their lockdown restrictions amid the pandemic.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a media release on Friday (22 October) that from 30 October, up to 3,000 vaccinated migrant workers from dormitories without COVID-19 clusters will be able to visit the two districts each week, for up to eight hours per visit.
This is an expansion of programme's original plan that allowed up to 500 vaccinated workers visit Little India each week, for up to six hours per visit.
To be eligible for the programme, the workers must be residing in dormitory blocks which have no COVID-19 clusters, implemented good measures to curb the spread of COVID, and have workers with high vaccination rates.
Migrant workers participating in the community visits will be also required to take an antigen rapid test (ART) on the day of the visit.
Since the pilot began on 13 September, around 700 migrant workers from 30 dormitories have visited Little India for six hours per visit. None of the participants have tested positive for COVID-19 thus far.
"Most workers polled by the Ministry are satisfied with the visit itineraries and arrangements. Some have provided feedback that they would appreciate longer visit hours and more location options," the ministry said.
More visits per week to recreation centres
In addition, all vaccinated migrant workers will be able to visit their recreation centres (RCs) for up to three times a week, up from two times a week. They will also no longer be required to undergo a pre-visit ART.
Unvaccinated migrant workers will be able to visit RCs up to three times a week as well, but must obtain a negative ART result from either their rostered routine testing regime or a pre-visit ART test.
Separately, additional COVID-19 measures have been imposed in Little India as more visitors are expected in the run-up to Deepavali next month.
These include switching off the popular pedestrian crossing at the junction of Campbell Lane and Serangoon Road, redirecting pedestrian traffic to two other crossings at Sungei Road and Dunlop Street, and ensuring that businesses do not extend their wares onto the pedestrian walkways, in order to prevent crowding.
Since April 2020, some 300,000 migrant workers have been living under restricted conditions at purpose-built dormitories and factory-converted dormitories, in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus. Most are still not permitted to leave except to go to work, and cannot mix with the general public.
On Thursday, Singapore reported 3,439 new COVID cases. Of these, 2,937 are in the community and 500 reside in the migrant worker dormitories. The remaining two are imported.
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