Singapore locks down construction workforce for two more weeks

Authorities in Singapore today extended the stay-home order for around 180,000 foreign construction workers by another two weeks, to 18 May.

The decision was prompted by the continued spread of Covid-19 among workers not housed in purpose-built dormitories, leading authorities to conclude that pre-lockdown construction activity had incubated the coronavirus.

Singapore seemed to have the outbreak under control but the country saw Covid-19 cases begin to rise steeply in mid-April among foreign workers in shared accommodation.

The health ministry today recorded 932 new cases, taking the total count to 17,101, the bulk of them among foreign workers.

The latest order applies to work permit and S Pass holders, and their dependents.

A joint statement from the health and manpower ministries and the Building and Construction Authority highlighted the continued rise of infections among construction workers not living in purpose-built dormitories, which were separately isolated  in response to outbreaks in them.

Workers live in factory-converted dorms and other forms of housing, as well as purpose-built dorms.

The agencies said Covid-19 cases among these workers remained "noticeably higher than the general community".

"This suggests that transmission at construction worksites among such workers had occurred before the start of the [stay-home] period," they said.

Image: Foreign workers employed by Singaporean contractor Woh Hup queue to collect meals for their roommates (From the Facebook page of Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority)

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