Singapore’s decision to build new dormitories for migrant workers is a step in the right direction that will help improve their living conditions, welfare groups said on Wednesday.

The move is part of efforts to decongest living facilities for migrant workers who account for an overwhelming majority of Singapore’s nearly 39,000 COVID-19 cases.

According to the Health Ministry, around 94% of the total cases were linked to foreign workers’ dormitories.

“It would be better if they had taken this step sooner, but we are happy they are moving in this direction at last,” said Alex Au, vice president of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), as quoted by local broadcaster Channel News Asia.

Dipa Swaminathan, founder of another migrant workers’ welfare group, also appreciated the decision, saying it would greatly improve living conditions in the overcrowded facilities.

“It is very encouraging and definitely a move in the right direction,” she said.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of National Development plan to prepare additional housing facilities for about 60,000 workers by the end of this year.

As a part of a long-term plan, the government will build several new dormitories that can accommodate up to 100,000 workers.

These dormitories will be equipped with various facilities, including markets and health care services.

* Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service in Jakarta

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