Social Issues

Foreign workers won’t need special passes to visit popular Singapore places

Singapore, Feb 9 (EFE).- Singapore Thursday announced that foreign workers, most of whom are from impoverished South Asian countries, will be able to move freely without requiring special passes beginning March 1.

More than 300,000 migrant laborers, largely involved in the construction of buildings and highways in the affluent city-state, will no longer be subject to COVID-19 limitations, according to the authorities.

To visit some crowded sites on their days off, foreign workers have to apply for a Popular Places Pass.

The scheme to limit the number of migrant workers visiting popular locations on weekends and public holidays was introduced to manage to crowd at the high footfall areas.

The restrictions forced these workers to remain locked up in their cramped dormitories for almost two years except when they ventured out to go to work.

Foreign workers have lived in a state of social exclusion with limited access to information and social services since the beginning of the pandemic.

At times 90 percent of infected people in Singapore were migrant workers, largely due to the overcrowding of the dorms in which they live.

Consequently, they were forced to remain locked up in the dormitories, except to go to work, until the end of 2021.

The rest of the 5.7 million city inhabitants were able to move freely, except during lockdown periods in Singapore, one of the countries with the highest per capita GDP, with one of the deepest inequality indices in the developed world.

The government began relaxing the measures in December 2021 that allowed them to leave in batches for a limited time and on specific days.

Human rights groups described some of these measures as racist and abusive.

The health ministry said migrant workers who test positive for the virus or have mild symptoms would be allowed to recover in dormitories or visit a doctor from March 1.

Covid-19 tests will be administered for only vulnerable migrant workers with symptoms or those with severe acute respiratory infection symptoms, said the ministry.

An estimated 50 percent of all migrant workers in dormitories have had a Covid-19 infection in Singapore. EFE


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