Ramadan prayers allowed in Singapore migrant halls where virus spread


Pedestrians walk past shophouses in front of the Sultan Mosque in the Arab Street area in Singapore. Muslim migrant workers in Singapore will be allowed to hold "congregational prayers" in their residences during Ramadan, which starts this week, the Manpower Ministry has confirmed. - Bloomberg

SINGAPORE, April 11 (dpa): Muslim migrant workers in Singapore will be allowed to hold "congregational prayers" in their residences during Ramadan, which starts this week, the Manpower Ministry has confirmed.

Up to 200 worshippers at a time will be permitted, depending on the size of the residence, the ministry said.

The migrants and residences will have to ensure "adherence to the measures necessary to deal with the risks posed by Covid-19," according to the ministry.

Most of Singapore's roughly-60,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported among young male migrants living in crowded residences, or dormitories, with the majority of positive tests recorded during the second and third quarters of last year.

The ministry said the virus "spread quickly due to their communal living arrangements" but "the vast majority" of those testing positive "were asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms."

The migrants have been mostly confined to their residences or workplaces since the outbreaks were discovered just over one year ago, with the Manpower Ministry only in December saying "we are preparing to return migrant workers to the community in a controlled manner, with strict measures in place."

Singapore's brief pandemic lockdown ended in June last year and most domestic curbs, including on public worship, were lifted during the following months. - dpa
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