Migrant workers forced into lockdown in tight dorms are now emerging to help kickstart the Singapore economy, but during the height of the crisis, they were largely untested, and the virus ran wild among them. They now account for a huge increase in cases taxing the health care system and causing leaders to enforce a partial lockdown for the first time in the pandemic.
The same is likely to happen across Europe, where migrant workers and seasonal laborers are desperately needed to harvest winter crops. Special dispensation to cross closed borders is now being considered for Romanian harvest workers to come to Italy, where they will move into barrack-style lodgings and work side by side. In the U.K., after calls for furloughed workers from non-ag sectors to step up and work in the farm industry were largely ignored, the government chartered flights to bring Romanian fruit and vegetable pickers in, despite travel bans.