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Migrant workers worried about Covid-19 back home can seek counselling: Tan See Leng

SINGAPORE – Counselling is being provided to migrant workers who are concerned and worried about the well-being of their loved ones in their home countries, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng on Sunday (May 23) during a virtual May Day celebration for workers.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as HealthServe and the Migrant Workers’ Centre are attending to the counselling needs of workers, many of whom come from India and Bangladesh, he said.

Other NGOs, such as My Brother SG, have also been working with the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group to produce and distribute booklets on mental health to migrant workers across dormitories, said Dr Tan.

“We are grateful for the show of support from all our community partners, who often go the extra mile for our migrant workers,” he said in a pre-recorded video message in the event, which was organised by the National Trades Union Congress.

He added that with the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in the community, there was a need to remain vigilant to protect migrant workers. Aside from going to work, they are still mostly not allowed to leave their places of residence.

Non-essential activities outside of the dormitories will be “limited”, said Dr Tan.

“To aid our migrant workers in fulfilling essential needs, we will work with employers and dormitory operators to facilitate access to supplies, remittance and telco services,” he added.

To keep workers engaged, the ACE Group is working with community partners to organise virtual activities such as online contests and courses.

“Our MOM officers are also on the lookout for distressed migrant workers who may require assistance,” said Dr Tan.

During the live stream, workers tuned in from their dormitories to watch song-and-dance performances by artists from China, Myanmar and fellow migrant workers in Singapore.

About 20,000 care packs with items such as face masks, towels, hand sanitisers, vitamin D tablets and other toiletries will be distributed to workers at a later date than planned because of the current Covid-19 measures.

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The items, sponsored by DSM, Lazada, Procter & Gamble, Singtel, TS Group and Zero1, will be distributed by logistics and transport partner Shalom Movers.

The labour movement also penned messages of encouragement to migrant workers on a virtual mosaic wall.

Members of the public who wish to show their appreciation to migrant workers can also share their good wishes here.

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