Labor & Workforce

Migrant workers deprived the benefits of Singapore’s effective Covid response

By Noel Caballero

Bangkok, May 6 (EFE).- While it is considered the best in handling the pandemic, Singapore keeps thousands of migrant workers segregated.

Last month, Singapore, along with New Zealand and Australia, topped the Bloomberg news agency’s monthly list ranking countries that have managed to cope with the pandemic and provided “a pre-pandemic quality of life for their populations.”

But this comes as the Southeast Asian city-state restricts the freedom of movement of more than 300,000 migrant workers, who account for over 90% of the 61,218 confirmed coronavirus cases Singapore has recorded since the pandemic began a year ago.

“Singapore has achieved to stop the pandemic months ago but has paid a very high price, which still nowadays the migrant workers are paying for,” deputy director of the Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) NGO, Alex Au, tells Efe, denouncing what he calls the discriminatory and unnecessary treatment this category is experiencing.

Coronavirus infections, however, have been trending upward recently in Singapore, which has had its borders closed for more than a year in combination with mandatory quarantine period of up to three weeks.

Singapore’s authorities have ordered the closure of gyms and cinemas starting from Saturday, with capacity limits on public gatherings, religious services, ceremonies, and other public events.

Those rules come after the city-state lifted almost all restrictions in late December thanks to its effective efforts in controlling the virus.

Amid its success in dealing with Covid-19, Singapore announced Thursday it would host the Bloomberg New Economy Forum between November 16 and 19, with some 400 participants.

Inter-government security forum Shangri-La Dialogue and the World Economic Forum are also to be held in Singapore later this year.

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