COVID-19: Bukit Merah HDB blocks to house healthy foreign workers – report

The Ministry of National Development (MND) headquarters seen on 7 April 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Vacant Housing Development Board (HDB) blocks in Bukit Merah are currently being refurbished to house healthy foreign workers in essential services amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Straits Times reported on Wednesday (8 April) that the Ministry of National Development (MND) will be housing them in some 21 blocks which had undergone the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

The scheme buys back public housing on land with high redevelopment potential for other purpose. The Bukit Merah HDB blocks, located at Redhill Close, were vacated in 2018 but not yet demolished.

According to The Straits Times, the foreign workers who are expected to move into these HDB blocks work in areas such as cleaning and maintenance. They will move into the three-room flats after refurbishing works are completed in the coming weeks.

Dormitories were not spared from COVID-19 spread

Sam Tan, Member of Parliament for Radin Mas SMC where the HDB blocks are located in, said in a notice to residents in the area that the dormitories which the workers were originally slated to move into have not been spared from the spread of COVID-19.

According to The Straits Times, he said that housing them separately will “keep them safe from the disease, which will in turn keep us safe when they are working in our midst”.

Tan, who is also Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development, said that during the circuit breaker period, which began on Tuesday, the workers will remain in their flats except to travel to work using company transport or to buy essentials.

Police and Certis Cisco officers will be deployed to maintain order at these blocks.

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