Singapore's contractors can gradually resume construction activity starting from June 2 while keeping the safe distancing measures in place. At a virtual press conference on Friday, the government announced that contact tracing technology at worksites has to be installed before starting the project. Cross-deployment of workers between the projects also has to be avoided.

Currently, only five percent of the construction workforce has been deployed at a few critical projects that cannot be left idle for safety reasons. Most of the construction works were suspended following the circuit breaker in place since April 7. Another five percent of the workforce can gradually return to work starting from June 2, Building and Construction Authority (BCA) expects.

Projects such as rail network constructions, deep tunneling of sewerage system and residential renovation that were suspended will be given the priority. All the projects have to be approved by BCA first. Hundred percent resumption of construction activities will not be allowed from day one, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said.

Projects Have to be BCA Approved

At least 40 dies in
Representational image of a construction site Reuters

Contractors will have to demonstrate that they can implement the necessary safeguards to get BCA approval. The construction cannot be resumed no matter how important the project is. "Even if a project is most meritorious of restarting work but the contractor is unable to show the safeguards are doable, they are not able to put all workers at same site," Wong said.

All the foreign workers living in dormitories will get tested in an effort by multi-ministry Covid-19 task force before they return to work. Those who recovered and tested negative will stay in a separate building where entry and exit will be tightly controlled.

According to the Straits Times, authorities have also been looking for conducting regular testing every two weeks for construction workers, BCA chief executive Hugh Lim said. The testing cost should be borne by the employer but BCA is working on how it can be distributed involving different parties.

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Construction sites in Singapore Reuters (Representational Image)