A Bangladeshi migrant worker confined behind the fence of purpose-built dormitory PPT1B, also more commonly known as S11@Punggol, on 7th April 2020. It is well known locally as the biggest COVID-19 cluster with more than 2800 cases alone. It was just two days after the Singapore government had announced that PPT1B and another purpose-built dormitory, Westlite Toh Guan, would be gazetted as isolation areas. In PPT1B alone, nearly 14,000 migrant workers woke up to the news that they could not leave the dormitory for any reason, including for work. A joint taskforce, which included the police, was put together overnight and put to work in the dormitories to assist with on-the-ground operations. The Singapore Armed Forces also set up a medical post.
Daniel Neo is a journalist with LianHe ZaoBao, the Singapore Chinese national broadsheet. Besides covering daily news, he has also documented the Thailand Elections in 2019, and Malaysia’s Port Dickson by-election that saw defacto opposition leader Khairul Anwar’s triumphant return to parliament. He spent the majority of 2020 documenting migrant workers’ plight caused by COVID-19, in which he had exclusive access to some of the hardest-hit areas in the early days of Singapore’s massive second wave of infection during this pandemic. He was also an awardee for WAN-IFRA in 2019.