Poor conditions at Covid care facility resolved weeks ago: Ministries
Ministries say they have already inspected AMK care facility slammed in Facebook post for 'dire conditions'
Most issues arising from poor conditions at a Covid-19 community care facility (CCF) in Ang Mo Kio had been resolved several weeks before a Facebook post slammed the "dire conditions" there, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
In response to queries from The Straits Times, the ministries said yesterday that "the well-being of our migrant workers is important to us" and that they had recently inspected the facility at the former Ang Mo Kio Institute of Technical Education.
The rooms had basic amenities and were generally clean at the time of inspection, said the ministries. MOH said it would work with the managing agent to provide more amenities and improve communication with residents.
On Saturday, Facebook user Min Chan wrote that her friend, a work permit holder who has lived and worked here for eight years, was told to quarantine at the facility when he tested positive for Covid-19.
Describing the conditions there, she said: "Rooms are dark and lit only by what sunlight permeates the structure. Beds are thin foam mattresses, with no blankets. No tables, chairs or personal lamp is provided. Cold packaged food is delivered to the room and left on the floor at mealtime."
"The images and videos I have received have stunned me," she said, adding that on arrival, her friend's bed was covered in hair from a previous occupant. Used earbuds, food wrappers and other rubbish were strewn around the room.
Lacking doors, rain got into the rooms during heavy thunder storms, she said. Poor communication led to mixed messages on when residents could leave.
The occupants her friend encountered were work permit holders from China or India, she said.
"This is Singapore. And I am ashamed of it," she added.
Addressing her claims, the ministries said a ground operations team reviewed some of the issues and has taken immediate steps to address them.
Improvements were made to prevent rainwater from getting in during heavy downpours, and more fans and container toilets were installed.
They said mattresses and surrounding areas at the facility are thoroughly disinfected after each patient leaves, and that clean bed sheets, pillow cases and blankets are issued to every person under isolation.
On the issue of cold food, the ministries said meals are centrally distributed for efficiency and to ensure that the meals are hot. They added that every block is currently equipped with eight washing machines to facilitate washing needs.
A care hotline is also available for patients who require mental health assistance.
"The managing agent is looking into working with a non-governmental organisation to keep the migrant workers engaged," they said.
"In addition, we will conduct inspections at other CCFs to ensure standards are upheld. We will also encourage residents to give us feedback through existing channels, such as through the managing agents of the CCFs, or the FWMOMCare mobile application (an app to monitor foreign workers' health status) for migrant workers, so that we can better address their needs."
Following the ministries' response, Min Chan wrote in a Facebook post yesterday that "from accounts on the inside, it seems things have not changed".
When contacted, she declined to comment further out of concern that doing so would have a negative impact on her friend's livelihood.