Government response to outbreak to be reviewed after crisis: Minister
There will be a comprehensive review of the overall response to the Covid-19 pandemic, not just in terms of the outbreak in the dormitories, but the entire crisis from start to finish.
This will help the Government learn and improve, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday.
He was responding to questions from Nominated MPs Walter Theseira and Anthea Ong, who had asked if the Government will appoint a committee of inquiry to investigate the cases of the Covid-19 outbreak among foreign workers in dormitories, identify the responsibility borne by the various stakeholders, and come up with policy reforms, among other things.
The Government has routinely done this each time after a crisis, he said in a ministerial statement in Parliament, noting that the lessons learnt from the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003 had helped a lot when dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
"But we are now still in the heat of battle," said Mr Wong, adding the Government should stay focused for now on the urgent priorities ahead - bringing the outbreak under control on the two fronts, in the community and in the migrant worker dormitories.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo also said yesterday that when the crisis is over, the Government will reflect and thoroughly look into areas where it could have done better.
It will also see how housing standards for migrant workers can be further raised, she added.
Ms Ong also asked if the Government would consider issuing an apology to the migrant workers for the Covid-19 outbreak in the dormitories.
To this, Mrs Teo said that officers in the inter-agency task force in charge of migrant worker welfare in dormitories interact very closely with the workers on a very regular basis at the dormitories, as well as outside the dormitories.
"I think that what they are focused on is how we can help them to handle this present situation, not fall sick, and if they fall sick, how to take care of them... how to ensure that they can send money home. These are the things that they have asked of us. I have not come across one single migrant worker himself that has demanded an apology," she said.