Covıd-19, Coronavirus

Covıd-19, Coronavirus

COVID-19: Singapore to build new dormitories with improved living standards for migrant workers

COVID-19: Singapore to build new dormitories, improve living standards for migrant workers

1/6/2020 2:06:00 PM

COVID-19 : Singapore to build new dormitories, improve living standards for migrant workers

SINGAPORE: The Government will build new foreign worker dormitories, and refit unused state properties as part of plans to reduce the current ...

BookmarkSINGAPORE: The Government will build new foreign worker dormitories, and refit unused state properties as part of plans to reduce the current density in the dormitories.By the end of this year, the authorities will create additional space to house about 60,000 workers, the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a joint media release on Monday (Jun 1).

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AdvertisementAdvertisementThese include Quick Build Dormitories (QBDs) that can be constructed “quite quickly” in a modular form with a low density. These QBDs can last for about two to three years and can house about 25,000 people in total.Eight sites have been earmarked for new QBDs by the end of 2020, including in Kranji, Tuas, Admiralty, Choa Chu Kang and Tampines.

READ: Migrant workers in dormitories cleared of COVID-19 to have staggered rest days with time limit during Phase 2Unused state properties, including former schools and vacant factories, will be fitted out temporarily to house about 25,000 workers, and the authorities are talking to contractors to build more construction temporary quarters, which are makeshift dormitories that keep the workers near their worksite.

AdvertisementAdvertisementSome of the state properties that will be refurbished include the former Bedok North Secondary School building, the former Anderson Junior College Hostel and tents at the National Service Resort and country club in Kranji.As part of longer-term plans, the Government is planning to build new purpose-built dormitories (PBDs) over the next few years that can house up to 100,000 workers. These dormitories, which will have amenities such as minimarts and barber services, will replace the temporary accommodations built this year.

About 11 PBDs will be ready in the next"one to two years", the media release said. Workers living in the PBDs will also have ready access to medical care and support."With these additional PBDs in place, we will also have the capacity to decant

workers from the existing dormitories, and to undertake major upgrading to thesedormitories to ensure that they meet the new standards," the ministries said.READ: Singapore confirms 408 new COVID-19 cases, no new community infectionsBesides expanding housing availability for foreign workers, government agencies are developing a set of specifications for these new dormitories, the ministries added.

These specifications will look into the design, facilities, management and regulation of these dormitories, and will factor in social interaction and disease response needs.“In land scarce Singapore, dormitories are a practical approach to housing our migrant workers,” the media release said.

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“We aim to make dormitory living and design more resilient to public health risks including pandemics, with improved living standards that are benchmarked both domestically and internationally.“We will take on board lessons learnt from the current COVID pandemic, and also seek feedback from relevant stakeholders.”

Some of the present set of standards that will be improved as part of a pilot include increasing the living space per resident from a minimum of 4.5 sqm per resident, including shared facilities, to at least 6 sqm, not including shared facilities.There will also be a maximum occupancy rate of up to 10 beds per room. Currently, there are no limits - the ministries noted that in practice, there are about 12-16 beds in each room.

The new set of requirements will see only single-deck beds being used, with 1m spacing between the beds.More toilets and bathrooms will also be built so that there is at least one bathroom, sink and toilet for every five beds, instead of every 15 beds.

The Government is also studying the possibility of developing the new PBDs on a different model compared to the present system, where currently land is released for the commercial operators to bid, build or operate."While the physical standards are being improved, it is equally important to uplift the capabilities of dormitory operators and make adjustments to the daily living habits of the dormitory residents," the ministries said.

"Everyone must do their part to minimise the risk of infection clusters. The pilot will therefore also seek to instil a new level of discipline on safe living within dormitories."READ: COVID-19: More than a third of Singaporean or PR cases in May linked to dormitory clusters

The ministries noted that cost will go up alongside these new housing arrangements, “but they will keep the workers safe and allow Singaporeans to continue benefiting from their contributions".The media release also said that some of the dormitories will be located closer to residential areas given the country’s land constraints.

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How about the Serangoon Gardens one? Singapore is not that big. We don’t need that yellow circle for goodness sake. FW dorm built by FW for FWs. It’s easy to rezone and build these dorms on available land, but are the agencies working together to ensure the surrounding infrastructure is up to par? Thank u to whoever are building these new migrant workers dormitories by yr end

Sometimes, it takes a catastrophe to drive a change, just like the welfare of bus drivers some years back.

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