Singapore, which has been dealing with an outbreak of coronavirus infections among its migrant workers, is building new dormitories with improved standards.
By the end of this year, the country plans to create additional space to house some 60,000 workers, the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Human Resources said in a joint press release.
In the longer term, the newly proposed specially designed bedrooms will house up to 100,000 workers to replace short and medium term housing.
“Our goal is to make bedroom living and design more resilient to public health risks, including pandemics, with improved living standards that compare both nationally and internationally,” the ministries said in the statement. “We will take into account the lessons learned from the current COVID pandemic.”
To begin, an improved set of standards will be tested in the new fast-building bedrooms. Those standards include six or more square meters (64 or more square feet) per resident, 10 or fewer beds per room, and at least one five-bed toilet, bathroom, and sink, according to the ministries.
Constituting a significant portion of Singapore’s workforce, 1.4 million migrant workers She lives in the city-state, primarily employed in construction, manual labor, and cleaning. Of these, around 200,000 live in 43 bedrooms, according to the Minister of Human Resources Josephine Teo.
Each bedroom houses around 10 to 20 residents. They share a bathroom and showers, eat in common areas and sleep a few meters away. It is almost impossible to carry out social distancing.
As of Monday, Singapore confirmed 408 new cases of coronavirus, all of which were among work permit holders staying in dormitories. This brings the total number of cases in the country to 35,292, of which 33,027 (93.6%) are dormitory residents.