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tv   People Power Singapores Infected Dorms  Al Jazeera  March 6, 2021 7:30pm-8:01pm +03

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to reach its goal an ancient river delta that may hold signs of long extinct microbial life forms if found such signs would be evidence that life perhaps even intelligent life exists in abundance beyond earth throughout the vastness of space robert oulds al-jazeera los angeles. this is just there and these are the top stories senegal's political turmoil has triggered more unrest in the capital dhaka people went inside supermarkets to take food and supplies off the shelves there's been violence since opposition leader song call was arrested earlier this week has more from dakar there's this feeling of injustice through the rest of the opposition we don't respond some code this feeling of injustice and feeling that
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a lot of young people specifically poor young people feel left out because senegal under mark he saw the economy has been booming he's been showing how. the country has been growing and yet there are many that feel left out in this economic boom pope francis has held mass and iraq's capital baghdad on the 2nd day of the 1st ever papal visit to the nation the leader of the roman catholic church called for common ground and unity after meeting with christian and muslim leaders it's the 1st time the pontiff has visited iraq. egypt's president. has met saddam's leanness it was his 1st visit since former president omar bashir was ousted they discussed challenges including the dispute with ethiopia over the ground for a nascent dam. yemen's army says its forces have killed another $23.00 who the fight is on saturday and moderate that's where it says it killed almost $100.00
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rebels on friday the army however hasn't reported any of its own casualties military aircraft from the saudi led coalition have been targeting who the. vote is a coasting their balance in ivory coast's fundamentally election the polls are happening 3 months after i was somewhat tato won a presidential election that was boycotted by the opposition for the 1st time in 10 years the ivorian popular front headed by former president bush is taking part dozens of his supporters were killed after he protested against retard as reelection in october. the u.s. senate has approved additional weekly aid of $300.00 to unemployed americans until the beginning of september that helps of a come one of the obstacles to president joe biden's near term trillion dollar covert montane relief bill. those are the headlines the news continues here on al-jazeera after people and power singapore's infected domes.
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test the global coronavirus fund demick grew into the 2020 the consequences for millions of migrant workers often living in less than ideal conditions no t.v. went unreported for several months we followed one such group in a single pool with the authorities its 1st struggles to contain a dramatic outbreak of infection in workers deliberately things did improve but the experience left its goes on those who lived through it.
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across the world some of the people hardest hit by the coded 1000 pandemic have been migrant laborers company called the keyhole and now american no wonder what to see now. in singapore the government was initially praised for its handling of the pandemic in the general population. but then an outbreak in a work of dormitories quoted by surprise this is by fostering a positive largest humanitarian crisis ever. as infection rates soared more than 90 percent of those affected when men living in such facilities you have so many
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workers together in the squad it conditions so it was a matter of time before it exploded in the dorms. that had a kind of a little more quality. a year ago people in power began following a group of workers at the heart of the crisis. this is their story for us on a cost to global. singapore is host to hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers like joel mia there fight all to the country's economy taking on low wage jobs typically shunned by locals joelle arrived from bangladesh in january 2020. he started work at a construction site but had to stop just 3 months later. i mean think of what they're going to gotta put this in they're going to get back up but what i want to
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know can go to the people. i want to i mean if they make the school it would take what i'm about. joel's plight was not unique. like much of the wealth of singapore found itself grappling with a strange new coronavirus in early 2020. and while the country's early response was widely noted trouble was brewing away from the public eye with so many things happening at the same time the marginalized communities get by under the radar so what was going on in the migrant worker dollar increase was certain extend. well not prioritised. it was no secret that singapore's migrant workers often lived in cramped sometimes unsanitary dormitories. the swell ideal conditions for the virus to spread remember what is there. in march a local and she even sent an open letter to the press morning of the risk of an
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outbreak. it received no response samples the kind of place where there's not been a tradition of the government listening to what civil society is proposing the alarmists that we raced prior to a culvert 1000 hitting the dog the trees. there appeared to be other missteps. there was that infamous circuit either came out of a ministry or manpower for be 90 and discouraging employees from being asymptomatic all priests into magic workers to the hospital for testing erin i'm forced me as you know when you don't test you're blind if you don't know what's going on. then came the discovery at the end of march of single. those 1st dormitory cluster. for workers living inside this massive complex tested positive for the virus. days
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later the government took what was then considered a drastic step. it declared s 11 dormitory and another facility isolation zones we want to reduce interactions to a large extent reduce intermingling and then limit the number of cases they can emerge within the foreign worker dhamma trees and we are also not allowing them to come out of the dhamma trees so that there will be no infection to the rest of the community. at the time it was an unprecedented move. but as the virus continued to spread more dormitories were locked down. more than 300000 workers were confined and told to follow rules not imposed on the rest of singapore's population to better understand what went on during the early days of the lockdown we spoke to a frontline worker at a government linked organization he asked that we hide his identity everyone was in
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a panic situation for the workers there were also very frightened because they leave you know replastered space by. some of the dorms already infected. also you go. from footage sent by our president at s.n.f. and provides a glimpse of life inside a restricted zone. to minimize interaction between work because communal spaces like kitchens were now out of bounds and the men told to remain in their rooms. more. inside residents try to keep their spirits up but for many those 1st few weeks will during. the summer. a worker whose identity we promise
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to conceal said they were subject to frequent tests and told to submit daily records of the temperature and blood pressure but they received very little information in return. for numbers from the 1st course it was put up with some of them very very. good there were problems are. a lot of them that for example are positive are not told they're positive and they're being relocated from piece to piece to piece without being told where they're going why. when they go to the hospital itself even when they're being admitted people are not telling them that they're positive so it's causing so much of under stress. dessner roy chowdhury is a medical doctor whose family was originally from bangladesh. as the number of infections rose in april 2020 she realized there was
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a language barrier that needed to be addressed so in april i started a transition website that helps to translate medical phrases and history taking from english to bengali so the idea is that you. and then you just let them hear the audio video and is that what's going on. people didn't use it which is good but i guess the shocking thing is that it's been so many months and some people are still using it or still needing translation help so really goes to show how addressed. a month into the lockdown has 11 dormitory sent us this clip. the dormer. going to have. cleaners in charge of his block had stopped showing up to. a fence had also been erected around his building he wondered if the residents had
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been infected. or do you. know. for the books. health information is effectively withheld from them and that this would never happen. while the men in s. a lemon tree try to make sense of their situation singapore's minister for manpower paid a visit to some frontline workers. she assured journalists the government was making steady progress having stabilized the situation as well as strengthen the medical support we now need to plan for the next space which is
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a. helping the world coasts to make a full recovery but also for all the drama to reste to go on the power of being properly recovered and and to facilitate the eventual return to work for these migrant workers. the statistics though were grim. that same day singapore registered 876 new coronavirus infections. the total number of cases stood at more than $23000.00. the overwhelming majority were migrant workers. it's physically impossible to maintain a social distance when you've got 12 to 20 people in a room and if i just talk to 20 people who share a room it's up to 100 people who can share one toilet. face was the exact situation joel meir faced when he called us from his dormitory in may 2020
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a look at home. for example they have a car but it's got it got a lot of quotes he won't think of it at the box. stop it. thinks so yes i think. we are joel to show us his surroundings. he sent us this video. men crammed into a room lined with bunk beds. inside the attached kitchen opa-locka prepared a meal next to a row of toilets and showers. social distancing was a challenge. for all. hope
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that they can warm up more but with paul. 2 days later joel told us he was unwell boy off the wall made with the ok at the school on an air base in the pulpit. his worst fears were soon confirmed. they have a color you already. so it all of. you can my no comment on whether gallup poll them up. and i want to go to. the management of c d p l dormitory didn't respond to our request for comment. a
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part of their travel joelle was transferred to a new location 3 weeks later when they didn't go up over one anything but near. denver live with a double figure it kind of. by then it was the middle of june 2020 more than 35000 migrant workers had tested positive for cope with 19 but the government's response had markedly improved. their hand. workers who had the virus but were asymptomatic or had relatively mild symptoms were moved to facilities like this it was covered with share cuts. other workers were also messaging us from isolation facilities. many said they were
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relieved to be out of their dormitories they felt safe in their new surroundings. by hanging there. some workers were even placed in luxury hotels. want to see the government. allowing the crisis still occur was clearly where the government had dropped the ball but it was a good response after the aras had been had been discovered and credit to the government that it didn't spend all resource thank you earl butz as elsewhere in
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the world the constant restrictions were exacting a hidden toll. in august we received videos purportedly of workers attempting to take their own lives. we decided to blow the footage in. front line workers we spoke to confirmed that as the lockdown wore on mental health issues work or spoken sun news. workers were merely asking what was going to happen to the how are we going to get this salary. boys call me your bill or you will tell us locked up for 1015 days and some would argue he looked awful for can be. frustrating as it is like isolation what you can do to some of them want to become
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a choice but. on the whole you look. at my current rights and geo transit workers count 2 volunteers said they were also receiving more calls for help. many were related to salary issues. the singapore government had promised that all migrant workers would be paid during the lockdown to help make this happen it gave their employers a tax rebate. but not everyone received their full wages some of them said they've not been getting any money at all and what's happening others have been getting rather less than they expected or rather less than the salaries that had been contracted and they were wondering. what is this what does this represent is this my salary as possible is this what. it
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wasn't only workers in locks down dormitories and isolation facilities who indeed it supports the n.g.o.s soup kitchen so a steady stream of men each evening. some had suffered workplace injuries and were awaiting compensation others said they had been cheated by their employers many had paid agents hefty recruitment fees for their jobs but were now unable to work there were all these complications that made life very difficult for workers who had already launched cases prior to cold it and then everything slowed down and they got stuck. and of course getting stuck has financial implications like was going to pay the rent. where is the money for food going to come from and so we've had to intensify our help to all these world this to get them through this period. in a young. because
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of the pandemic some workers who were supposed to go home found themselves stuck in singapore instead more permission. for her to come on missions. as an indoor mia. is the most are. all mormon. or backups and there is a roxanne well yes. i mean. i mean just. i mean a sassy. i'm a nerd in lost his job because his employer couldn't pay a government levy. because of the pandemic his flight to bangladesh kept getting me shuttled. you know henry ikorodu look more broadly able. of the months of
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uncertainty he was finally getting on the plane. i met him outside the airport in dhaka. he said he was coming home then when he left. at the army i asked one can i want i want to come across come i will want the family i think i'm going to sure effect we will not. come for we will hold on across kampala past miles of water we have a shared history on the whole of passport is that what they were and i called the gum of the government to go up what i wish for them into. 18 miles north of dhaka another migrant workers family was hoping he would come home soon. or dick would be. was still in an isolation facility in singapore he'd sent us a message a day earlier. on a course to. joel
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and his wife spoke to each other regularly. but when he 1st tested positive for the coronavirus he'd kept it a secret from his family i mean i wanted to get up out of body on a quad whatever but a have a little hair horse the. most amount said she was struggling to put food on the table. her husband was the family's sole breadwinner but he was still unable to work and his employer was only paying a fraction of his basic salary. they've not been sending money home. yet i've architect the button eyes that get this i said that did the 1st thing at aqaba shannon care. donna not that not happening and part of them.
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thanks. by december singapore seem to have weathered the worst of the crisis. the government announced that most of the country would move into a new face. it east capacity limits that some public venues and allowed because social gatherings. but my current workers in dormitories are expected to follow a different set of rules. they are not allowed to leave on the trees unless they have the employer's permission and i think that's a terrible violation of any feeling of newts rights. to say that you can go to work but ya put back in a dollars and you can even lose the place of residence. ringback the singaporean government declined our multiple requests for interviews or
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a statement about the issues raised in this film. but in a report posted on the ministry of manpower's web site in december it's admitted that early measures taken to deal with infections in the dormitories were inadequate. the government said it acted swiftly and decisively to stabilize the situation and by august all migrant workers living in dormitories had been tested at least once the same report revealed that 47 percent of workers living in dormitories or about 152000 men developed a code 19 infection. i. think we are spread was so profound that it was probably very difficult to do much more than what the government had been given the sheer magnitude of the challenge in terms of the numbers off workers and the fact that the n.t. system was just not ready to cope with such
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a large humanitarian crisis on singapore's on on shelves. singapore isn't the only country where migrant workers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. it's been a problem elsewhere in asia and the middle east. but here at least the crisis forced the government to confront an issue that hadn't been a priority in the past. a little storage fees to mandate better living conditions for the workers. some say those improvements were long overdue. some people expect workers to be grateful for everything that has been done for then but. if you really analyze the situation it is only the bare minimum because it is the employers and the policies and. the government that has put them in this position in the 1st place so it's really only fixing what was
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broken by the country in the 1st place. for many of the men who were affected the experience was a traumatic one. we met joe well 7 months off that he tested positive for the coronavirus. he's employer had moved him into a private apartment. we're going to go to. the body. by. my wife. and if you harbor them what have they cooked us on that hill up. on that you're got from a cousin. i come by but the. other migrant workers had started going back to work. but joe weld couldn't because of
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a hand injury sustained on the job before the pandemic hits. he'd not been able to get it looked touched during the lockdown and his boss refused to file an insurance claim mission accomplished on one of them now my dear sir i thought the door to the hard way that the next ash that was here but i asked us to tell it from a shop window that i mean it's a dock on the day the and that they were there. hits of fight the virus but was going to be sent home with an injury. and yet for all that it happened joel said he still sourcing a pool as a place of opportunity i mean a. bar on the boardwalk that was asked that and the other thing about it asked paul is i don't know the amount of the cars and. if they come they will join the community facing even greater restrictions to its freedoms. a community at the must see of events and policy decisions beyond its control. the
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