Authorities urge foreign domestic workers to practise social distancing on rest days

Authorities urge foreign domestic workers to practise social distancing on rest days

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Domestic workers in Singapore (File photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: Foreign domestic workers should adhere to safe distancing practices on their rest days, Singapore authorities said on Saturday (Mar 21), in line with stricter measures announced by the health ministry to stem the spread of COVID-19.

This comes after the Ministry of Health on Friday announced that Singapore would implement stricter safe distancing measures to reduce the risk of further local transmission of the novel coronavirus.

READ: All events, gatherings with 250 participants or more must be suspended to reduce further COVID-19 spread: MOH

These include the suspension of all events and gatherings with 250 or more participants attending at any one time, as well as specific distancing measures for venue operators such as food and beverage outlets. 

Individuals have also been urged to "take responsibility" for their own private get-togethers.

Similarly, foreign domestic workers should practise social distancing measures on their rest days, said the Ministry of Manpower, Centre for Domestic Employees and Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training, as they reiterated their recommendations for such workers in an advisory.

READ: Singapore reports 2 deaths from COVID-19

Foreign domestic workers are advised to spend their rest days at home during the COVID-19 outbreak period, said the advisory.

Those who have errands to attend to are encouraged to take their rest day on a weekday, when public spaces are less crowded. 

If they agree to spend their rest day at home, employers should not assign work to them on that day, added the advisory. For workers who come to a mutual agreement with their employers to forgo their rest day, employers must provide compensation.

However, if workers want to spend their rest day outside, they should avoid gathering in large groups and minimise time spent "at places such as Lucky Plaza, City Plaza (and) Peninsula Plaza", said the authorities.

The advisory also urged workers to observe good personal hygiene, minimise physical contact by not shaking hands and maintaining a safe distance from each other, and avoid sharing food, drinks and personal items.

Employers should also remind workers of these measures before they leave for their rest days, it added.

"(Foreign domestic workers) should also practise social responsibility by monitoring their own health condition," said the advisory. "They should see the doctor if they are feeling unwell. They should not go out to prevent spreading the illness to others."

READ: COVID-19: Entry approval, stay-home notices for all new, returning foreign domestic workers to Singapore

At the moment, all employers and employment agencies planning for foreign domestic workers to enter Singapore must obtain the Ministry of Manpower’s approval prior to the commencement of their journey.

Upon arrival in Singapore, all new or returning foreign domestic workers from any country will also be placed on a mandatory 14-day stay-home notice.

For foreign domestic workers who have plans to travel back home, the manpower ministry has advised that employers discuss and come to a mutual agreement for them to postpone their home leave until the situation stabilises.

Two COVID-19 patients died in Singapore on Saturday morning, the first deaths related to the disease in the country.

The two patients were a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and 64-year-old Indonesian man.

As of Friday, Singapore has seen 385 COVID-19 cases. Of these, 131 have fully recovered and been discharged.

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Source: CNA/nc(hm)

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