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Coronavirus Singapore

Singapore robot patrols park with polite social distancing reminder

Maya Taylor

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Singapore robot patrols park with polite social distancing reminder | The Thaiger
Singapore Public Utilities Board/Facebook
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“Do not loiter at this park. Stay safe, stay home.”

A robot, originally procured a year ago to monitor plants and reservoirs in Singapore, is being put to a different use in these strange new Covid-19 times. Boasting a 360 degree, high-definition camera and facial recognition sensors, the robot, known as O-R3, patrols Bedok Reservoir park, politely telling off anyone caught violating social distancing rules or “lingering unnecessarily”.

Coconuts reports that the self-driving, autonomous vehicle, the property of Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, has been given a temporary new job description, helping to flatten the Covid-19 curve in the city-state. Singapore originally appeared to have done this quite successfully, but a big spike in infections among the migrant worker community has resulted in nearly 15,000 cases as of today.

A Reuters video shows the robot making its way around the park, issuing the important safety message we’re all too familiar with now.

“To curb the spread of Covid-19, gatherings at this park are not allowed. Please practice safe distancing at all times and do not loiter at this park. Stay safe, stay home.”

The Thaiger suggests that the “broken record” repetition may be all the deterrent that’s needed …

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Coronavirus Asia

320,000 of Singapore’s migrant workers living in Covid-19 limbo

Jack Burton

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320,000 of Singapore’s migrant workers living in Covid-19 limbo | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AFP

As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the world, some countries are faring better than others. Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and as late as March, Singapore, had all been hailed for using the hard-won lessons of the 2003-04 SARS outbreak to combat the new virus, a relative of SARS.

For Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the story might well have been one of immense tragedy, the timing was bad. The virus emerged just before the Chinese New Year, when millions travel on home visits across the region in the world’s largest annual human migration. All three territories are closely interconnected with mainland China, where the outbreak began, and all 3 began aggressive measures to contain the spread.

But things are different now. Singapore’s confirmed cases have blown past 10,000 from just 1,000 at the beginning of this month and as of this morning stood at 11,178 and rising, the highest number in south east Asia. The city state is regularly posting over 1,000 new cases per day, the vast majority among its estimated 320,000 migrant workers living in cramped conditions. Almost 80% of new infections are linked to migrant workers living in 43 mega-dormitories across the country.

Singapore was lauded by the World Health Organisation for its swift action to suppress infections but the crisis has shone a spotlight on how it treats marginalised migrants

320,000 of Singapore's migrant workers living in Covid-19 limbo | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Asia Times

On Tuesday this week, Singapore said it would stop the daily movements of workers in and out of all dormitories, including those that are purpose built, factory-owned or temporary quarters for construction workers. Workers in essential services, who’ve tested negative, have been moved to other accommodations. The rest will remain in virtual concentration camps, where the risk of infection has been evaluated as “extremely high”.

320,000 of Singapore's migrant workers living in Covid-19 limbo | News by The Thaiger

GRAPH: Worldometers.info

The pandemic exposes the gross inequality in Singapore, which relies heavily on a workforce of about a million migrant workers to build the country’s shiny skyscrapers and clean its sprawling shopping malls. Most of the migrant workers come from Bangladesh, India and other South Asian countries hoping of sending money back home. Their lifestyles are in stark contrast to the country’s wealthy elites and financial workers and live in separate communities and remote villages, away from the tourist areas and busy shopping malls.

A video report from the BBC.

SOURCES: BBC | Technology Review | Bangkok Post | The Guardian

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai companies urged to tighten up Covid-19 measures for migrant workers

Anukul

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Thai companies urged to tighten up Covid-19 measures for migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: thetop10news.com

The Director General of the Department of Employment Suchat Pornchaiwiseskul says that he has sent an urgent letter to companies asking them to ensure stricter disease control measures for migrant workers from neighbouring countries.

The letter follows a serious outbreak of more than 7,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among migrant workers living in cramped conditions in Singapore.

“The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has cited the outbreak of Covid-19 in Singapore among migrant workers.”

“Having monitored this significant development, our department has issued preventive measures against the spread of Covid-19 among migrant workers by requesting that employers be responsible for their foreign workers and ensure they strictly comply with disease prevention measures and regulations.”

The newly enforced disease prevention measurements are as follows:

  1. Wipe work surfaces clean and dispose of waste every day.
  2. Wear sanitary masks or cloth masks and wash your hands with soap, hand sanitiser, or antiseptic solution.
  3. Maintain social distancing by working at least 1 metre apart.
  4. Avoid crowding by controlling the number of workers at a site or reducing the time needed for work activities.

According to the Labour Ministry’s Foreign Workers Administration Thailand currently has about 2,660,000 registered migrant workers.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus UPDATE – first deaths in New Zealand, Sri Lanka. Singapore cancels citizen’s passport.

Jack Burton

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Coronavirus UPDATE – first deaths in New Zealand, Sri Lanka. Singapore cancels citizen’s passport. | The Thaiger
PHOTO: SCMP

Covid-19 cases around the world have now reached 723,732. A week ago (March 23) there was 378,000 cases in the world.

There have been exactly 34,000 deaths recorded globally (as of 2.30pm Monday Thai time) with over 151,000 people recovered. The USA leads the world count with 142,735 cases followed by Italy with 97,689 cases and 10,799 deaths.

Here are the most recent developments from around Asia related to the Covid-19 coronavirussituation in the region…

Singapore cancels citizen’s passport

Singapore, which has imposed tough measures to slow the spread of the virus, including six months in jail for people who intentionally stand close to others, cancelled the passport of a citizen who breached his mandatory quarantine period.

The 53 year old man had been ordered to stay home for 14 days after returning to Singapore from neighbouring Indonesia, a rule he then broke by making a return trip over the border.

Singapore reported its third COVID-19 death yesterday.

Australian domestic violence cases soar

Australia announced a nearly 100 million US$ (3.27 billion baht) boost in funding to tackle domestic violence, after support services reported a spike in virus-related family abuse.

Australian PM Scott Morrison says there has been a 75% surge in Google searches for help during the current nationwide shutdown of non-essential services to curb the spread of the disease.

Associations around the world that help victims of domestic violence fear a massive increase in cases as the stress caused by social isolation exacerbates tensions.

China reports slightly fewer imported cases

China reported 45 new infections yesterday, all but one of them imported. That compares with 54 cases Saturday, all of which were imported. After taking strict and harsh measures to bring the virus under control domestically, China is now doing the same to prevent imported infections.

China announced last week it would drastically reduce the number of international flights into the country and banned foreigners from entering beginning last Saturday.

New Zealand and Sri Lanka report first deaths

New Zealand has announced its first coronavirus death: a woman in her 70s with an undisclosed chronic underlying condition. There are currently 589 confirmed cases in New Zealand, with 75 new infections reported over the past 24 hours.

Sri Lanka also recorded its first death late Saturday.

Philippines reports 343 new cases

The Philippine health ministry has added 343 new coronavirus cases – the country’s largest daily increase in infections, and 3 additional deaths.

That raised the total number of known infections in the country to 1,418, while the death toll has reached 71. Seven more patients have recovered, however, bringing the total number of recoveries to 42.

Indonesia may soon quarantine almost 30 million people

The move proposed for the capital and surrounding areas is to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for “more decisive steps” to restrict people’s movement at a cabinet meeting on Monday, saying firm actions are “needed to break the chain of distribution of coronavirus.” The President didn’t spell out what additional curbs were required with the capital already being placed under an emergency status and schools, cinemas and entertainment spots closed for about two weeks.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | AFP

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