Migrant workers fear massive Singapore dormitory lockdown is coronavirus time bomb
SINGAPORE/DHAKA – Migrant workers living in vast Singapore dormitories cut off from the outside world due to the coronavirus outbreak fear their cramped and squalid quarters are fast becoming a hotbed for infection.
Singapore on Sunday said it had quarantined nearly 20,000 workers in two dormitories, made up of mainly Bangladeshi and other South Asian manual workers, after they were linked to at least 90 infections.
The government said the action was needed to prevent broader transmission in the city-state – which is closing schools and offices this week due to a spike in cases – and said it had taken measures to reduce worker interaction in the dormitories and ensure they received salary, meals and medical support.
But the move has been criticized by rights groups and others who say it may be discriminatory and risks exposing healthy individuals to a higher chance of infection.
“If anyone is infected with the virus in our room or in our block, it is just a matter of time to catch the virus,” said Majidul Haq, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi, who stays at the S11 Dormitory @Punggol with some 13,000 other workers.— By JOHN GEDDIE, RUMA PAUL, Reuters