Guidelines for Clearing Dormitories

This message is shared with members on behalf of the Ministry of Manpower. Updated 23 June 2020.

1            Indicative Timeline For Dormitory To Be Cleared Of COVID-19

  • The Inter-agency Task Force (ITF) is clearing all remaining dormitories in the coming months. Our aim is to test and clear workers as quickly as we can, while safeguarding the good health of all residents by ensuring that they are tested negative or have recovered from COVID-19 before resuming work.


  • We are providing an indicative forecast of dormitories and blocks to be cleared in the coming weeks, to aid employers and dormitory operators in their planning. The schedule can be found here.


  • The order of clearance of blocks and dormitories are based on: the number of recovered workers originally from the dormitory and who have been discharged; the spread of COVID in the dormitory; and inputs from the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) and Economic Development Board (EDB).


  • The timing of clearance is also subject to revision, as it depends on:


    • Screening outcomes: Sometimes one test is not enough – workers may have to go through a few tests, and be isolated for a certain period of time. This is to make sure they are clear of COVID-19 and not incubating the virus. On the other hand, in some dormitories, a single round of test is able to clear many blocks without a further test. 


    • Adherence to Safe Distancing: Clearance may be delayed if residents are not sufficiently stringent in practising safe distancing. For example, a PBD with a low infection rate has seen its expected clearance date pushed back by at least a month, because residents did not maintain strict safe distancing measures (SDM), and several instances of residents visiting other rooms were detected.



2            Overview Of Testing At Dormitories



  • The Inter-agency Taskforce will be testing all foreign workers in dormitories to allow all to safely return to work. We started testing in May 2020 and will start testing at all dormitories by July 2020.


  • Your workers may have to undergo a few stages of testing with a mix of serology (blood) and swab tests, as shown in the chart above, depending on the level of infection at the dormitory. Serology test is done to check if your workers have COVID-19 antibodies. If they do, it means that they have had COVID-19 before and is now recovering. Swab test is done to check if your workers have COVID-19. The Inter-agency Taskforce has devised differentiated testing strategies to determine if workers are cleared of COVID-19 to work as quickly as possible and ensure that they are given appropriate medical care.


  • Workers may be moved to a different location in the dormitory or a facility outside the dormitory depending on their health status to provide them with better care. We will keep your workers informed on the tests they have to undergo and their health status.


  • Please assure your workers that the testing is part of the plan to ensure that they are well and can resume work safely when workplaces re-open.


3            Final Clearance For Workers To Return To Work


  • When dormitories are declared cleared of COVID-19, dormitory operators will receive an email from MOM to inform them. Employers should work with dormitory operators and workers to make the final preparations (Key steps are summarised in attached infographic and details can be found here).


  • Only when the preparations are completed will the dormitory be given final clearance for workers to leave for work. MOM will again inform the dorm operators once the final approval is given. The workers’ AccessCode will turn green if their companies are also approved to resume operations by respective agencies.


  • If your workers’ AccessCode is green and can go to work, you can share with them this a step-by-step video guide on what they need to do when they return to work. You can access the video here. The videos are also made available in the foreign workers’ native languages.