As the Wuhan virus death toll continually increases, the Singapore government announced yesterday (Jan 28) that travelers with passports issued in Hubei or those who have traveled there recently will be barred entry or transit to Singapore.
Following this announcement, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also unveiled a slew of measures on all foreign workers from Hubei in an effort to curb the spread of the Wuhan virus.
For one, it will reject all new work pass applications for foreign workers from Hubei until further notice.
However, renewal applications for existing work pass workers from Hubei will not be affected.
In addition, existing work-pass holders from Hubei who are currently away or with recent Hubei travel history within the last 14 days should defer their return to Singapore.
While they will still be allowed to enter Singapore, they will be quarantined at home or other suitable facilities upon their return.
Being quarantined is a legal order and falls under the Infectious Diseases Act. Those who flout the quarantine may be fined up to S$10,000, jailed up to six months, or both, for first-time offenders. The penalty will be more severe for subsequent breaches.
MOM Awards Quarantine Allowance To “Help Singaporeans”
Those quarantined cannot share a room and toilet facilities with anyone else.
They also cannot physically interact with others living in the same premise, or leave their homes. Spot checks — both by phone and in-person — will be carried out to ensure that they abide by the restrictions.
The authorities said they would assist quarantined people who live alone to carry out essential tasks such as getting groceries, for instance.
The Government will also provide some financial help by giving self-employed people S$100 for each day they are quarantined.
For salaried workers, this money will go towards their employers instead as the quarantine period will not come from annual leave.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong — who is co-chair of the multi-ministry committee overseeing the Wuhan virus crisis — stressed that this quarantine allowance is “not new”.
“We did it for Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) too,” wrote Mr Wong in a Facebook post.
It’s given to Singapore-based employers to cover their employees under quarantine and to self-employed Singaporeans or permanent residents under quarantine. It’s not given to tourists who are quarantined. Our whole point is to help Singaporeans.– Minister Lawrence Wong
Separately, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo also emphasised the important role employers play in keeping workers safe.
She urged employers to closely monitor Wuhan virus-related developments and follow travel and health advisories on the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) website.
They should be responsible in implementing recommended measures without delay, she said, adding that workers too, should take charge of their own health and personal hygiene.
Featured Image Credit: Reuters