Claims about authorities hiring people to enforce 8-visitor rule during Chinese New Year are false: MSE

Claims about authorities hiring people to enforce 8-visitor rule during Chinese New Year are false: MSE

safe distancing enforcement officer passes
Enforcement officers and safe distancing ambassadors can be identified through these passes. (Photo: Facebook/Masagos Zulkifli)

SINGAPORE: Authorities are not hiring people to enforce rules on household visits during the Chinese New Year period as claimed by a message circulating on WhatsApp, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) said on Thursday (Jan 28).

The message claimed that an agency will employ 5,000 temporary staff members to "go around houses to check the number of visitors present in each household", with details on how much they would be paid for the job.

“There is no such hiring exercise being conducted by agencies involved in the enforcement of safe distancing measures (SDMs) and safe management measures (SMMs),” MSE said in response to CNA's queries.

“Agencies have deployed Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs) since the circuit breaker in 2020, and have been hiring to replace attrition,” the ministry added. 

“The number of SDAs has remained constant. There is no plan to hire an additional 5,000 SDAs for the Lunar New Year period.”

READ: Rules on visiting and tossing yusheng: 7 things to note this Chinese New Year amid COVID-19

Ahead of Chinese New Year, authorities had announced new restrictions, allowing every household to receive only up to eight visitors each day.

People should also limit themselves to visiting a maximum of two other households a day as much as possible, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

The measures come after a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the community. 

“We only need to recall what happened last year when we indeed saw a spike in cases after Chinese New Year, and we had many clusters linked to Chinese New Year gatherings,” Education Minister and co-chair of the COVID-19 task force Lawrence Wong said last week.

“This was last year, we don’t want a repeat of that happening.”

On Thursday, MSE reminded people to abide by COVID-19 rules. 

"We urge everyone to follow the rules, do our part by being socially responsible, including during festive periods, to prevent a resurgence in community transmission and keep Singapore safe," it said.

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Source: CNA/vc(gs)

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