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Migrant workers suffer as Asean countries combat Covid-19

The Star, Singapore, 14 April 2020 - Millions of migrant workers in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia toil in conditions that leave them vulnerable not only to the Covid-19 (coronavirus), but to strict lockdowns imposed to stem the pandemic in host countries.

But the wealthiest and third-wealthiest countries in South-East Asia, Singapore and Malaysia respectively, depend on millions of immigrants to fill low-wage jobs in agriculture, construction, domestic help and restaurants.

This critical but often neglected section of society - nearly one and a half million people in Singapore and perhaps twice as many in Malaysia - has been thrust into the spotlight by the coronavirus pandemic.

The past two weeks have seen a surge in Covid-19 cases across 43 government-sanctioned dormitories that house around 200,000 of Singapore's migrant workers.

Of Singapore's record 386 new cases announced on Monday night, the "majority are Work Permit holders in the dormitories," according to the Ministry of Health.




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