'Bare and filthy rooms' at Ang Mo Kio community care facility resolved weeks ago: MOH and MOM

PHOTO: Facebook/Min Chan

A Facebook post on Saturday (Oct 2) highlighted the living conditions — with "bare and filthy" rooms — of a community care facility at the former site of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) in Ang Mo Kio.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said, in a joint reply to media, that they have inspected and resolved this issue "several weeks ago" but will continue to work with the facility's managing agent to “continually improve living conditions”.

Facebook user Min Chan's detailed post, which garnered more than 200 shares, included four videos that revealed "dire conditions" for those who are Covid-19 positive and living at this quarantine facility.     

Today I felt the gravity of my privilege, and deep shame for the blind eye I’ve turned to the discrimination so...

Posted by Min Chan on Friday, October 1, 2021

She shared that her friend, who has lived and worked in Singapore for over eight years on a work permit, caught Covid-19 from his Singaporean landlord. Despite being fully vaccinated with mild symptoms, he was ordered to be quarantined at the facility.

Upon arrival, the friend was greeted with hair on his bed and used earbuds in his room. Tables, chairs, and personal lamps weren't provided, the post added.

In the video, it can be seen that the dormitory rooms have no doors, which meant that during a thunderstorm, rain can easily enter the room she said — leaving the occupants shivering with no blankets provided.

"He has not met a single Singaporean or EP holder in the ITE facility," Min Chan said, "his roommates are all from India or China, holding work permits."

Response from MOH and MOM

In a recent inspection of the facility, both ministries, in a joint reply to media, said the rooms were generally clean and basic amenities such as clean bed sheets and blankets were issued to every occupant under isolation.

The ministries added: “The ground operations team is reviewing some of the issues and has taken immediate steps to address them.

"These include infrastructure improvement to prevent rainwater splattering during heavy downpours, procurement of more fans, and installation of more container toilets.”

On Oct 2, MOM said Covid-19 measures will be changed for migrant workers living in dormitories, focusing on those with symptoms and need medical care.

Other changes include using more Covid-19 tests which are faster and less intrusive, better contact tracing and allowing Covid-19 positive workers – those vaccinated and asymptomatic — to recover in facilities in their dormitories.

According to MOM, these new measures follow existing MOH guidelines for the public, and also strive towards lessening disruption to work and living for migrant workers.     

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amierul@asiaone.com