Addressing Singaporean residents and citizen PM Lee Hsien Loong said that they are working towards maintaining the same kind of care and service to migrant workers as they give to their own citizens in the circuit breaker extension that is now stretched to June 01, 2020.
Singapore has been one of the few cities to show compassion and inclusion towards the migrant population that is stuck due to the pandemic. Many are still working to provide essential services.
The UN’s International Migrant Stock 2019 data confirms that the percentage of migrants in Singapore tripled over the past three decades, growing from 24 percent (727,000 migrants) of the population in 1990 to 37 percent (2.15 million) in 2019.
This puts the percentage of migrants in the Republic’s population at over 10 times the global average of 3.5 percent in 2019.
Singapore is facing surging numbers possibly due to undetected contractions amongst the migrant population.
The extension will, according to PM Lee “aim is to decisively bring down the number of coronavirus cases in the community, and to make sure that if any “leakage” occurs from the foreign worker dormitories to the wider community, Singapore can detect and contain it early”.
Singapore has been in what they call the circuit breaker since the beginning of April. Complimenting the fact that the country has worked towards maintaining and adhering to the spirit of the guidelines, Lee said that they have been able to contain the number of cases of infection.
Almost all migrant workers live in dormitories and those who don’t might have moved from dormitories to private housing. The amount of infection amongst them has gone undetected due to various factors. One is that this also makes up for many migrant workers who are providing essential services in Singapore.
While the government is trying to aggressively test them one-by-one, many have not shown any signs of contraction. Lee shared how asymptomatic cases could be rampant due to the fact that most of the migrant workers are young and have good immune systems. However, contraction from them to others cannot be ruled out.
In order to address this, the Singapore government has put together a team of doctors and healthcare personnel that can provide immediate medical assistance if need be. However, no cases have been reported where individuals might have been in need of oxygen support or intensive care. Speaking about the only one case, he said that the migrant worker was a Bangladeshi (case No. 42) who took two months to come out from the ICU. “We never gave up on him though was in ICU. He is out of danger and hopefully will be seeing his newborn son soon,” added the PM.
Also addressing the need of older workers he said that special attention was being given to them and it as being ensured that they are shifted to separate dormitories to be monitored separately. Reassuring the migrant fraternity, Lee has communicated that the Singaporean government will take care of their livelihoods and that those who have to send money home, will be able to do so. Arrangements are also being made for Moslem migrants to celebrate their festival of Ramadan.
Speaking to the general public, Lee urged that “we should not let our guard down and let’s unite forces to continue to maintain the circuit breaker rules for us to break the chain of spread.”
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