Public sector adopts telecommuting, split shifts as part of COVID-19 safe distancing measures

Public sector adopts telecommuting, split shifts as part of COVID-19 safe distancing measures

MHA building
The Ministry of Home Affairs headquarters in Singapore. (File photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's public service agencies will intensify its safe distancing practices, said the Public Service Division (PSD) on Saturday (Mar 21), following the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force's implementation of stricter measures to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. 

This comes as the public sector continues to "strive to ensure that public services remain available and uninterrupted", said PSD. 

On Friday, the task force co-chaired by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced that all events and gatherings attended by 250 and more people at any one time must be suspended with immediate effect. 

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

READ: Measures for safe distancing rolled out in retail, F&B sectors to prevent COVID-19 spread

The requirement applies to all kinds of gatherings, said the ministers, including meetings and religious events, as well as private gatherings such as weddings. 

The task force also issued guidelines such as increased ventilation and a 1m spacing between people at public venues. 

PSD said that, when practical, public sector agencies will introduce tele-commuting to reduce person-to-person contact at the workplace and ease the travel load on the public transport system. 

Public sector agencies have also adopted video and teleconferencing, and implemented greater spacing between seats in the workplace. 

"Where the nature of the work is such that officers cannot work from home, public sector agencies have implemented a number of measures such as split locations for working, staggered work hours or split shifts," said PSD. 

Official trips abroad will also be deferred. 

READ: Singapore reports 2 deaths from COVID-19

READ: Singapore reports 47 new cases of COVID-19, more than 80% imported

"As a public service wide practice, overseas personal leave will not be approved unless on exceptional or compassionate reasons," said PSD. 

All social activities regardless of size will be cancelled and activities involving more than 250 participants suspended. 

"Where essential activities still need to be organised, we will structure them such that we decrease the scale, density, intensity and duration," said PSD. 

As of Saturday night, Singapore has 432 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The country also reported two deaths linked to the coronavirus on Saturday morning. 

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Source: CNA/hs

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