Wuhan virus: Some workers, students returning to Singapore from China will have to take mandated 14-day leave of absence

Hello and welcome to the details of Wuhan virus: Some workers, students returning to Singapore from China will have to take mandated 14-day leave of absence and now with the details

A thermal scanner set up at Changi Airport Terminal 3. — TODAY pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A thermal scanner set up at Changi Airport Terminal 3. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 27 — Some workers and students returning to Singapore from China from tomorrow (January 28) will have to take a 14-day leave of absence (LOA), as the city-state raises its guard against the Wuhan virus.

This will be mandated for all Ministry of Education (MOE) schools, which include MOE kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, special education schools, junior colleges and the Millenia Institute, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education.

The LOA will start from the day after one’s arrival in Singapore. It applies to students and staff in polytechnics and ITE who return from China on January 14 or later, and those from schools who return on January 15 or later.

The LOA will also apply to staff in public and private healthcare institutions who have travelled to China recently.

Affected students in schools will be supported by a home-based learning plan.

Schools will also start daily temperature-taking exercises from Wednesday.

The authorities hope the precautions implemented will mitigate the risks and help schools and institutions continue with normal activities, and avoid the need for school closure.

As of today, there are 92 suspect cases in Singapore, of which four are confirmed.

A total of 46 have tested negative for the Wuhan coronavirus, while test results for 42 other cases are still pending.

In China, the virus has killed at least 56 people and infected almost 2,000.

Speaking at a media briefing today, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said: “Given the continued worsening of the situation in China, we have decided for a need for a further step-up of our measures to minimise risk of more imported cases, to contain, identify and to minimise chances of the virus spreading in Singapore.”

“We will take extra precaution for those returning from China, and we are doing it now because we are fully expecting more to come back from CNY,” added Wong, who co-chairs an inter-ministry taskforce in charge of the situation with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

More than 800 students and staff from schools and tertiary institutions have been to China in the past 14 days.

“For students who are on LOA, this is not an extended holiday, we will support your learning and education,” Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who was at the briefing, said.

“All your systems are online on Student Learning Spaces. Teachers will make extra effort to reach out to them

“This is not 14 days of play at home. We will work together with parents and students. This is a necessary precaution during this period.”

Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee said at the briefing that about 1,000 preschoolers and some 500 to 600 preschool teachers have gone to China for various reasons.

He added that the authorities will be visiting the various preschools to check on the implementation of the mitigating measures.

Health Minister Gan warned that the situation is rapidly evolving, and the authorities will implement more measures when necessary.

“We expect cases to increase,” he said. “Ultimately, a strong national response requires a whole-of-nation effort.” — TODAY

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