Singapore — Workers’ Party leader Pritam Singh voiced concern in Parliament on Feb 18 about the mandatory Stay-Home Notice effective from 11.59 pm that day for individuals returning from China.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, all work pass holders who return from China have to go on 14-day leave under the Stay-Home Notice (SHN). During this period, those on the SHN are not allowed to leave their places of residence. Besides monitoring their health, they are to “make their own arrangements to procure their daily necessities, such as meals and daily essentials. This could include requesting their house or dormitory mates to help procure these for them, or ordering home delivery services”.
With effect of the transition from the Leave of Absence to the Stay-Home Notice regime for those returning from mainland China, Pritam Singh asked how many of such returnees were expected to transition to the new regime.He also asked about the Government’s enforcement resources to ensure returnees' compliance with the Stay-Home Notices, in light of the concern of greater likelihood of community spread from such returnees.Vid Credit: CNA
Posted by The Workers' Party on Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Employers are responsible for making arrangements if the employees under the SHN are unable to do so for themselves. According to the MOM, “if support from employers is not forthcoming, work pass holders should report their difficulties to (the ministry).”
Mr Singh raised two questions regarding this measure. Firstly, he asked if the Government had an estimation of the number of individuals who were “expect(ed) to be transitioning to this stay-at-home regime” as “a lot of these individuals … would be living in the community…” He pointed out the danger of community spread of the Covid-19 virus from the returnees.
Secondly, Mr Singh asked: “What are the enforcement resources that the Government has at its disposal to ensure that returnees actually comply to the requirements of the Stay-Home Notice?”
Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong said in reply that the Government “do(es) not have an estimated total number of people returning”. As for its enforcement capabilities, he cited leveraging on technology to monitor them, with phone and video calls and it will also track their location, adding that this will help the Government “to reduce the manpower resources that may be needed to ensure that they stay at home”.
In response to a WP Facebook post on Saturday (Feb 22), netizens took notice of Mr Singh’s questions regarding the enforcement capacity of the Government because many doubt that all returnees will adhere strictly to the Stay-Home Notice.