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COVID-19: Will take care of Indian migrants just as our own citizens: Singapore PM tells Modi

PTI, Apr 24, 2020, 10:05 AM IST

Singapore: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Indian nationals working in Singapore will be taken care of just as other Singaporeans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Lee said that he had a telephone discussion with Modi about the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Singapore and India.

During the call, Lee said, he acknowledged the sacrifices migrant workers have made in order to work in Singapore.

“I assured him (Modi) that we will care for Indian migrant workers here, just as we care for Singaporeans. The migrant workers made personal sacrifices to come to work here. They have made many contributions to Singapore, so we have a responsibility for them,” said Lee.

“Appreciate PM Modi’s affirmation of our efforts in looking after the migrant workers, and his assurance that they will not forget this,” Lee added.

He thanked Modi for India’s help in bringing back stranded Singaporeans from India. Singapore flew out 699 of its citizens in early April after they were stranded due to the coronavirus lockdown in India.

After speaking with Lee, Modi said the strategic partnership between India and Singapore can contribute to stability and prosperity in the post-COVID world.

“Exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic with PM @leehsienloong, and thanked him for the support and care being extended to Indian citizens in Singapore,” Modi tweeted.

The Singapore PM has called India’s nationwide lockdown since late March “not a simple decision” in a huge country of 1.3 billion people.

“India and Singapore are strategic partners with extensive economic ties,” he said.

“We agreed to work together on the challenges posed by the pandemic, keep supply chains intact, and keep essential supplies flowing,” said Lee in the post.

The two leaders also discussed the “extensive economic ties” Singapore and India share.

The High Commission of India in Singapore told The Straits Times that Prime Minister Modi called his Singapore counterpart as part of his ongoing engagement with various world leaders on coronavirus.

As of April 19, over 1,600 Indian nationals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Singapore, according to The Straits Times report.

The Singapore Health Ministry has stopped releasing individual case details, including nationality, after Sunday last, reported the Singapore Daily.

Indians make up the second-largest group in terms of nationality of coronavirus patients in Singapore.

Bangladeshis are the largest national group with more than 2,900 patients. Singaporeans are third on the list with over 1,100 patients.

Singapore currently is in the middle of its circuit breaker exercise, which is a series of restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a 46-year-old Indian national, who was detected with coronavirus, was found dead here on Thursday, police said.

The deceased, whose name was not revealed by the authorities, was found dead at the staircase landing at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

Battling the second-wave of coronavirus infections, Singapore on Thursday reported 1,037 new COVID-19 cases, more than 1,000 of which are foreign workers, including Indian nationals, mostly working in the labour-intensive industries and living in packed dormitories.

This is the fourth day in a row that Singapore has reported a daily increase of more than 1,000 cases.

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