Ten of the 72 Indian nationals infected with the novel coronavirus in Singapore have recovered and the rest are mostly in stable condition, India’s High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf said on Sunday.
Over 700 Indian nationals, including over 70 tourists and students, are stranded in the island nation due to non-availability of flights.
They are being helped by the high commission with their visa extension and where requested with food and accommodation, the envoy told PTI.
“We are working with Singapore’s Manpower and Foreign Affairs Ministries to help Indian nationals in every way,” said Ashraf, who joined Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad and Member of Parliament Murali Pillai during a visit to an Indian workers dormitory on Saturday.
Of the 72 Indian nationals infected by COVID-19, 21 are permanent residents, 28 are on employment passes (and their dependents), 18 are on work passes (of whom 16 are workers living in dormitories) and five are on short term visits to Singapore.
Many of these infected Indians had travelled to America and Europe. A few of the workers had visited India before being confirmed as COVID-19 patients, though it is not definite where they were infected, according to Ashraf.
The high commissioner has assured the Indian workers that the Singapore Government will look after them, provide medical treatment if they fall sick, and will work with employers to address salary-related issues.
Management of dormitories will also try to ensure smooth functioning of remittance services from dormitories.
The high commissioner has asked the Indian workers to stay calm and positive and follow all hygiene and social distancing protocol in the dormitories.
Those workers affected by the four-week shut down of construction sites and other workplaces, as part of the disinfection and cleaning up of sites and premises hit by COVID-19, are assured of their salaries and welfare by the Singapore authorities.
“There is no need to worry and be concerned as the Singapore authorities have assured of all helps and the Indian High Commission is available 24/7 with emergency phone numbers and online services to help,” said Jawed Ashraf.
Tens of thousands Indian nationals are working in Singapore’s labour intensive sectors — construction and shipyards — some of which are coronavirus clusters after large number of COVID-19 cases were identified there.
The livelihood of foreign workers will be taken care of, as Singapore ramps up measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, said Minister for Communications and Information Iswaran on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after a 30-minute dialogue with foreign workers at a dormitory in Jurong industrial estate, Iswaran said the government’s top concern is their health and well-being, along with that of Singapore residents.
“The second thing is that they have concerns around their livelihood, as well as their welfare, and these are things that the Ministry of Manpower is working with other government agencies, as well as the dormitory authorities to address,” The Straits Times quoted Iswaran as saying after visiting foreign workers on Saturday.
“We want to assure the workers that we are doing our best to address these concerns and ensure that they are able to navigate this period of closure with some level of peace of mind.”