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Covid-19: 24 work pass holders banned from working in Singapore after flouting safe distancing measures

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revoked the work passes of 24 individuals for flouting tighter safe distancing measures. They have also been barred from working in Singapore.

The Ministry of Manpower said on April 13, 2020 that it revoked the work passes of 24 workers for flouting safe distancing measures.

The Ministry of Manpower said on April 13, 2020 that it revoked the work passes of 24 workers for flouting safe distancing measures.

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revoked the work passes of 24 individuals for flouting tighter safe distancing measures. They have also been barred from working in Singapore. 

In a statement on Monday night (April 13), the ministry said that its inspectors found the workers eating, drinking and gathering in groups near Tuas View Square earlier in the day.

This was despite past enforcement activities in the area, MOM said. 

“To send a clear signal of the seriousness of the offence, MOM has decided to revoke all 24 work passes and permanently barred the individuals from working in Singapore,” it added.  

When contacted by TODAY, MOM could not provide more information on the breaches or the work pass holders, such as their employers or the industries for which they work.

From April 7 to May 4, most workplaces — except those in key economic sectors or those providing essential services — are closed as part of circuit breaker measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.

MINOR LAPSES IN 57 WORKERS' DORMITORIES

MOM said that it has stepped up inspections at factory-converted dormitories to ensure that operators provide acceptable living conditions and take care of their residents. 

Factory-converted dormitories are industrial or warehouse developments that have been partially converted into dormitories. 

During its inspections, MOM officers also checked if operators and employers were abiding by elevated safe distancing measures. These include ensuring that residents or employees stay in their rooms as much as possible and minimise interaction with those not living in the same room.

Between last Saturday and Monday, MOM inspected more than 600 factory-converted dormitories, such as those at Sungei Kadut in Woodlands and Tuas. 

The ministry found that the vast majority of operators had instituted safe distancing measures and health checks for residents. Residents also did not report well-being or salary issues, it added.

Still, minor lapses — such as the lack of sick bays and isolation areas — were found in 57 dormitories. Some dormitories were also found to have unacceptable levels of cleanliness, MOM noted.

“The operators have been instructed to rectify the issues immediately. Follow-up inspections will be conducted to ensure compliance.”

It will complete inspections at the remaining 600 factory-converted dormitories in the next two days.

“We urge owners and operators of factory-converted dormitories to pay special attention to the management of their dormitories well during this circuit breaker period,” MOM said. 

“Where necessary, MOM, together with the Migrant Workers’ Centre, will provide the operators with the support needed to implement the measures.” 

NO MINGLING 

In a separate advisory, MOM called on employers to remind their workers living in factory-converted dormitories and other places to observe safe distancing measures. 

This means not mingling with workers from different blocks or floors where possible, minimising their time spent in public areas, and maintaining safe distancing in and outside their dormitories or quarters. 

Employers should continue to pay their workers’ wages promptly and look after their well-being during the circuit breaker period.

“MOM will not hesitate to revoke the work pass privileges of errant employers,” it cautioned. 

“Work pass holders who do not cooperate will be fined, or have their work passes revoked and (be) permanently barred from working in Singapore.” 

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