Migrant worker tea-time crush clip was old and situation now ‘improved’: Defense Ministry

A hoard of workers wait to collect snacks, evoking scenes of a concert mosh pit. Image: Joseph Nathan/Facebook.
A hoard of workers wait to collect snacks, evoking scenes of a concert mosh pit. Image: Joseph Nathan/Facebook.

See that video of unmanageable crowds of migrant workers at a COVID-19 isolation facility? If so, the Defence Ministry wants you to know it happened over a week ago and things have since improved.

The hotel chain managing the worker isolation facility located inside the Changi Exhibition Center told the ministry that the chaotic two-minute clip was filmed May 10, and that the workers have since been queuing in an orderly manner.

“Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, the managing agent of the facility, has clarified that the video was taken more than a week ago for food distribution during tea break on 10 May, and has released the videos for the same distribution on 12 May and 14 May,” the ministry said yesterday. 

“The situation has improved significantly as a result of enhanced queue management measures,” it added

The video shows a swarm of migrant workers waiting to collect their tea break snacks.

Mandarin Oriental told the press yesterday that more personnel and volunteers have been deployed to assist with meal distribution and crowd management, as well as the staggering of meal times to reduce crowding.

The hotel also responded to concerns about the migrant workers not practicing safe distancing, saying that they posed no threat to one another as they all already had COVID-19.

As of May 14, there were 19,479 patients isolated and receiving care at such isolation facilities. 

Of those, more than 2,600 migrant workers are at the Changi Exhibition Centre Community Care Facility. One official said most could be released as soon as next month.

Singapore reported 305 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, raising the total to 28,343 since January. The official death toll stands at 22. 

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