20,000 foreign workers who have been quarantined are complaining about the unhygienic conditions they are living in.
In a message to States Times Review, a foreign worker from S11 Dormitory at Punggol said his dormitory is cockroach-infested and overcrowded:
“This place is very dirty. I see cockroaches crawling on the ceiling everywhere and we have to queue to use the toilet. Some people just urine into plastic bags in their room. There is nothing to do all day, and the room is hot, humid and smelly. Even India is cleaner than this. Food is also not enough. We are angry.”
Another foreign worker also told the same story to state media Straits Times:
“There are many cockroaches in the kitchen and also in our rooms. The urinals in the toilets are overflowing with urine and the workers step on the urine and then walk to their rooms. Today, one cleaner went to the toilet and just sprayed water and left. He didn’t use any Dettol and also did not dispose of the trash, which has been around for two days. Empty food boxes are piled up on the rubbish bins and these bins are very near our rooms.”
There is also no face mask available and there is no social distancing:
“On Sunday, most of us woke up at 8am and were waiting for our breakfast, which arrived at about 10am. Everybody queued together to get the food. There was no social distancing. We also did not have masks. Only a few workers had their own masks.”
The workers are also bored from staying in the room with 11 others:
“In the afternoon, it was hard to stay in the room for long. There are 12 beds in each room and each floor has 24 rooms. You can see cockroaches crawling in the rooms. There are also many mosquitoes. Many people just stood outside their rooms, in the corridors. There are also smoking areas at each end of the corridors, and the toilets are also there. You can smell urine when you stand outside the rooms. This happened suddenly. We did not stock up on food. I can’t go out to buy my coffee. But some people have food and they were cooking in the kitchen because dinner was still not here at 8pm. If everyone wants to cook, the kitchen will be very crowded. There are six gas stoves in the kitchen and there is no way anyone can stand 1m apart.”
Some are angry from the absence of cigarettes, alcohol and boredom. Many wanted to return to their home country, which is disallowed by the Singapore authorities. Adding to the fear of infection are numerous police vans and ambulance, and the dormitory has become a living hell worse than prison.
Morale is very low, and the workers were not told how much money are they getting each from their employers. Each foreign worker earns about S$24 a day, excluding overtime.
The Singapore government has only promised payment to their employers, but after deduction for food and accommodation, each worker is expected to receive only S$10 a day.
Thomas Oh, project director of Beng Khim Construction, said he was shocked to see videos and photos of overflowing urinals and cockroaches sent by his workers.
When the dorm was contacted by the media, a managerial employee of S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, who asked not to be named, said: “We are doing our best. Everything is in the Government’s hands.”
There are now 166 foreign workers who have been confirmed infected, with the number expected to increase as the government did not test the suspect cases.