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In pictures: Living in a foreign worker dormitory during Covid-19

SINGAPORE — Foreign worker dormitories in Singapore have been in the spotlight owing to the spike in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks. TODAY’s visual correspondent Nuria Ling visited three dormitories — Westlite Papan, S11 Dormitory and Tampines Dormitory — to find out more about the living situations and what the authorities are doing to manage the facilities.

In pictures: Living in a foreign worker dormitory during Covid-19

A foreign worker in Tampines Dormitory returns to his room with the catered lunch for his roommates on April 21, 2020. Workers in each room take turns to collect three meals a day from the distribution point and return to their rooms to eat.

SINGAPORE — Foreign worker dormitories in Singapore have been in the spotlight owing to the spike in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks. TODAY’s visual correspondent Nuria Ling visited three dormitories — Westlite Papan, S11 Dormitory and Tampines Dormitory — to find out more about the living situations and what the authorities are doing to manage the facilities. 

This visit was arranged by the Manpower Ministry on Tuesday (April 21), before tighter circuit breaker restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 were announced.

WESTLITE PAPAN 

There are about 5,700 workers living in the Westlite Papan dormitory in Jurong, after some 1,400 workers in essential services were moved out. 

So far, there are no confirmed Covid-19 cases in this dormitory. With the tougher circuit breaker measures announced on Tuesday, foreign workers are not allowed to leave the dormitory, but they may leave their rooms to exercise and shop for necessities at the minimart within the compound at staggered timings.

Vaigunbam Vengadesan, 40, in his room at Westlite Papan dormitory on April 21, 2020. His room has three occupants now, down from eight, after workers in essential services were moved out. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
A communal kitchen and washroom shared by 16 residents in Westlite Papan dormitory on April 21, 2020. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
Swab testing for Covid-19 being done at a medical post in Westlite Papan dormitory on April 21, 2020. There are no confirmed cases in the dormitory so far. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
Foreign workers in Westlite Papan dormitory collecting their catered breakfast on April 21, 2020. Forward Assurance and Support Teams (Fast), comprising officers from the Singapore Armed Forces, police and the Manpower Ministry, have been deployed to all 43 purpose-built dormitories to manage daily needs such as food distribution, cleanliness and healthcare. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
A worker walks past bags of rice at a minimart in Westlite Papan dormitory on April 21, 2020. The dormitory has no cases of Covid-19 thus far, so residents were still able to leave for work and use certain services within the dormitory, before tighter circuit breaker restrictions were announced that same day. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
Foreign workers in Westlite Papan dormitory waiting for transport to work on April 21, 2020. Following the new circuit breaker restrictions announced on the evening of April 21, 2020, workers in all dormitories are now barred from leaving the premises. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

TAMPINES DORMITORY 

Tampines Dormitory has 82 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Thursday. It has been declared an isolation area and workers have been quarantined since April 9.

Foreign workers in Tampines Dormitory collect their catered lunch on April 21, 2020. The Fast team at the dormitory set up a 20m-by-30m tent as a distribution point, where food and essential items such as hand sanitiser, masks and thermometers are distributed. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

 

Different types of catered lunch for foreign workers at Tampines Dormitory on April 21, 2020. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Tan Shengyang (right), the leader of the Fast team at Tampines Dormitory, in a briefing with his team and dormitory staff members on April 21, 2020. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY S11 DORMITORY The S11 Dormitory in Punggol has the biggest Covid-19 cluster, with more than 2,200 cases to date. The dormitory, which has a capacity of 13,000, was one of the first to be gazetted as an isolation area after a spike in infections within its premises.
A foreign worker carries cardboard to throw away at the S11 Dormitory in Punggol on April 21, 2020. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
A dormitory staff member telling residents to return to their rooms at the S11 Dormitory in Punggol on April 21, 2020. The dormitory, which has a capacity of 13,000, was one of the first to be gazetted as an isolation area after a spike in Covid-19 cases there. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

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