Following confirmations on Sunday that one of the latest cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Singapore was a Bangladeshi worker, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has taken actions to ensure both the employer and dormitory handled the situation responsibly.

Based on preliminary checks by the Ministry,  the employer had helped workers take precautionary measures against the infection, by regularly disseminating government advisories and encouraging these workers to maintain good personal hygiene.

The employer was also prompt in getting medical attention for the affected worker, and ensured he stay away from the workplace while on medical leave.

Apart from the above, MOM stated that based on information from the Ministry of Health (MOH), measures have been taken to ensure anyone who was in close contact with the worker was quarantined - in total, 19 Quarantine Orders had been issued; to the worker's 10 roommates, eight people who took the same company transport as him, as well as a project manager at the worksite.

In keeping premises clean, MOM has instructed the dormitory operator to disinfect the premises based on the National Environment Agency's guidelines, which the operator has done. Inspections carried out by the Ministry yesterday (10 February) found that the dormitory had stepped up the cleaning of common areas from once daily to twice daily.

MOM updates advisory on enhanced precautionary measures for dormitories

In similar news, following the raising of Singapore's DORSCON level to orange last Friday (7 Feb), MOM has issued a new advisory for all dormitories to step up their cleaning and precautionary measures.

These are detailed below:

  1. Dormitory operators should suspend all mass activities, to minimise the risk of infections among residents;
  2. Dormitories should stagger the usage of common facilities where possible, to further minimise cross-interactions between dormitory residents;
  3. In further precautionary measures, dormitory operators are urged to make arrangements for residents on leave of absence (LOA) to be housed together with others on LOA, in a separate section away from other residents. In cases where this is not possible, there should be dedicated rooms for these residents, which are not in rooms that were set up for quarantine purposes.
  4. Dormitory operators should also make arrangements for meals, so residents placed on LOA need not leave the premises. Should there be a case where a resident needs to leave the dormitory urgently, they should be advised to minimise social contact and return to the dormitory as soon as possible.

On top of the above measures, the MOM also requires all dormitory operators to maintain a record of all residents on LOA, and provide the Ministry with daily status updates.

For the latest updates, dormitory operators, employers, and employees are strongly advised to stay posted on MOM's 2019-nCoV advisory page.

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