International COVID 19 MOH denies that children who have COVID are separated from their parents...

MOH denies that children who have COVID are separated from their parents when travelling

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An editor with Bloomberg Opinion highlighted a complaint of a European national. His wife said that authorities “tried several times to take their” child, who is under the age of 10 and who had also tested positive for the infection, alone to a hospital or hotel room.

Singapore — In a Dec 23 opinion piece, Rachel Rosenthal, an editor with Bloomberg Opinion, wrote that Singapore’s “approach to pandemic management, once strict and orderly, has become increasingly inconsistent and chaotic.”

She highlighted the complaint of a European national who had tested positive for Covid. 

His wife said that authorities “tried several times to take their” child, who is under the age of 10 and who had also tested positive for the infection, alone to a hospital or hotel room.

“She has refused to comply, acknowledging that her decision could mean fines or imprisonment,” wrote Ms Rosenthal.

She went on to recount the story of a British couple who also tested positive and allegedly received conflicting messages for their quarantine, are facing thousands of dollars in hospital bills despite having travel insurance, and were told to “find a solution” for their cat and two dogs while they were in quarantine.

The writer also quoted a Singaporean based in the United States who came home for the first time in four years. Since “a close contact” on his flight tested positive for Covid, he had to spend much of his vacation in quarantine. But he was surprised that he needed to go into isolation at all, since he had travelled via business class and was far away from others on the plane.

Ms Rosenthal’s piece, titled “Singapore’s travelers face Omicron chaos,” was published on Bloomberg’s website on Dec 23 and in the Washington Post on the same day.

By Sunday (Dec 26), however, the Ministry of Health responded to the article, which was printed as a letter to the editor on Bloomberg.

Mr Edwin Goh, a director at MOH, wrote that the public health measures applied in the country are for everyone—“be it Singapore citizens, permanent residents or foreigners.”

He added that they were put in place in order to slow down the Omicron variant, which “has presented significant uncertainties in the global fight against Covid-19,” and “include more rigorous tests for incoming travelers, contact tracing, and placing infected or exposed individuals respectively in designated recovery or quarantine facilities, such as hotels, rather than at home.”

A significant number of new infections in Singapore are imported cases.

Mr Goh went on to write that “contrary to what the article said, children will not be separated from their families. Those ages 12 years and below will stay with a caregiver, while those ages 13 to 19 years are allowed to isolate alone only with the written consent of their caregivers. According to our checks, all children 12 and younger who were under quarantine or isolation have been accompanied by a caregiver.”

He added that the measures are temporary, and asked for understanding as they have been implemented “to ensure the safety of our community.” /TISG

Read also: Calvin Cheng on OMICRON cases being allowed to recover at home: “Very good. We win. Turtles lose.”

Calvin Cheng on OMICRON cases being allowed to recover at home: “Very good. We win. Turtles lose.”

 

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