Singapore readies ‘floating hotels’ for workers as coronavirus spreads

A tugboat pulls the Bibby Renaissance floating hotel meant to house healthy migrant worker in Singapore, April 11, 2020. (Courtesy of Sea Farmers at Ubin via Reuters)
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Updated 13 April 2020

Singapore readies ‘floating hotels’ for workers as coronavirus spreads

  • Meals will be prepared off-site and delivered to the cabins to minimize intermingling
  • Singapore reported 233 new coronavirus cases on Sunday taking its total to 2,532

SINGAPORE: Singapore is preparing to house hundreds of foreign workers in accommodation vessels typically used for offshore and marine industry staff as it races to find alternatives to dormitories where the novel coronavirus has been spreading rapidly.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers, many from South Asia, live in cramped dormitories across Singapore, which have become the biggest source of coronavirus infections in recent days.
Authorities are moving some of the healthy residents of those facilities to other sites including military camps, an exhibition center, vacant public housing blocks and the accommodation vessels, which they have called “floating hotels.”
“Each facility can hold a few hundred occupants and can be suitably organized to achieve safe distancing,” Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post on Sunday after he visited one of the vessels.
They are docked in a restricted area in a port terminal, Khaw said.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said it was working with terminal operator PSA Singapore, Keppel Corp’s rig-building unit, floating accommodation barge provider Bibby Maritime Ltd. and serviced apartment operator The Ascott Ltd. to bring in and manage two floating accommodations.
Khaw released photographs of a basic, clean cabin with three beds covered in blue linen, and said the residents would be able to use a deck for an hour of exercise every day.
Meals will be prepared off-site and delivered to the cabins to minimize intermingling. A medical facility is also being set up nearby on land.
Singapore reported 233 new coronavirus cases on Sunday taking its total to 2,532, eight of whom have died.


COVID-19 pandemic ‘under control’ in France: govt adviser

Updated 3 min 22 sec ago

COVID-19 pandemic ‘under control’ in France: govt adviser

PPARIS: The COVID-19 pandemic is now “under control” in France, the head of the government’s scientific advisory council said Friday, as the country cautiously lifts the lockdown imposed in March to contain the outbreak.
“The virus is still circulating, in certain regions in particular... but it is circulating slowly,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy told France Inter radio.
“Where we had tens of thousands of cases a day, around 80,000 new cases per day in early March, before the lockdown, we estimate we now have around 1,000 cases,” he said.