Asia Govt boosts measures against spread of Wuhan virus, including 14-day mandatory leave

Govt boosts measures against spread of Wuhan virus, including 14-day mandatory leave

Travel advisory expanded to include all non-essential trips from Singapore to mainland China

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The Singapore Government has strengthened measures against the spread of the Wuhan virus. The measures were announced at a press conference on Monday (Jan 27) that was chaired by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

One measure requires students and workers in certain sectors who have returned to Singapore from mainland China in the past 14 days to take a 14-day leave of absence. According to Channel News Asia, the Ministry of Education is implementing this mandatory leave, applicable to both students and staff of government schools (MOE kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, special education schools, junior colleges, polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education and Millennia Institute), in order to protect schools from the outbreak. Students taking the 14-day leave will be supported by a “home-based learning plan”.

The leave also applies to healthcare workers as well as to those in the eldercare sectors, and will neither be a no-pay leave nor result in a deduction from their annual leave. This serves as a precautionary measure especially when considering the vulnerable state of the patients in these sectors.

The Government has also expanded its travel advisory to include all non-essential trips from Singapore to mainland China. In addition, beginning on Wednesday (Jan 29), temperature screening will be implemented on all travellers flying into Singapore. Screening at land and sea checkpoints will continue. Extra attention will be given to flights from mainland China, with healthcare teams stationed nearby.
According to straitstimes.com, the Ministry of Trade and Industry anticipates that tourism-related businesses are likely to be badly affected. These include travel agents, hospitality industries, the food and beverage sector, retailers and companies providing transport.
They will be helped to reduce business costs, ease cashflow problems and retain workers. These measures are similar to those implemented during the Sars outbreak in 2003.
Furthermore, the Government has increased its efforts, through various channels such as Gov.sg and the Ministry of Health website, to provide Singaporeans with reliable updates on the virus outbreak.
The Government is continuing to monitor the Wuhan virus situation closely, and urges the public to follow its directives as well as to remain calm.
In his annual Chinese New Year message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged Singaporeans to maintain a united front and to remain calm. He gave the assurance that “we are well prepared” and that “we have been gearing up for such a situation ever since we dealt with Sars in 2003”. /TISG
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