Stay on cruise ships working out well for migrant workers
Mr Rajagopal Sathiyavasan, 42, starts his day with yoga and scenic views of the Singapore Strait.
The Indian national is one of about 3,000 migrant workers staying on board the SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Aquarius cruise ships serving as temporary accommodation for workers who have recovered from Covid-19.
Both vessels, docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre, are run by Genting Cruise Lines and house non-essential workers.
The cruise company is prepared to have these workers on board until the end of July, said Mr Michael Goh, head of international sales at Genting and president of Dream Cruises, during a media tour of SuperStar Gemini last Saturday.
But it is ready to extend the arrangement if necessary, he added.
There are about 200 crew members on each ship to support operations.
These temporary arrangements are part of the Government's plans to reduce the number of people living in foreign worker dormitories, which have become the main source of coronavirus infections in Singapore.
Mr Sathiyavasan, a safety supervisor, has been staying on SuperStar Gemini for two weeks. While he enjoys the plush interiors of the cabin he shares with another person and the view of the sea from the ship's deck, he cannot wait to return to work and his dormitory in Toh Guan.
"It's been two months since I worked or saw my friends... I want to go outside and feel free," he said.
He tested positive for the virus in mid-March and was warded at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was given the all-clear on March 29, and was put up at a hotel before being moved to the ship.
The first workers boarded on April 29 and, since the middle of this month, about 200 have returned to their dorms, the Singapore Tourism Board said.
The workers are required to stay in their cabins most of the time, but they are allowed to use the outdoor spaces on the ship's deck for about 45 minutes each day. Medical facilities are available and temperature checks are done twice daily.
In the past few days, they have also been dining at the ships' restaurants instead of in their rooms, with safe distancing measures in place.