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PUB employee tests positive for COVID-19, affected staff in Environment Building asked to telecommute for the day

PUB employee tests positive for COVID-19, affected staff in Environment Building asked to telecommute for the day

File photo of the Environment Building. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: A PUB employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the national water agency said on Friday (Feb 14). 

The employee is an administrative staff member who works in the agency’s Environment Building, and is not involved in plant or field operations, said PUB in a media statement.

All employees on the affected level of the building - 70 staff members in total - were asked to leave the office and telecommute for the rest of the day, so that the space could be disinfected.

There was “no evacuation” of the building, said the agency, adding that staff members are expected to return to work on Monday as usual.

READ: 9 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 6 linked to Grace Assembly of God cluster

READ: Coronavirus cases in Singapore - Trends, clusters and numbers to watch

PUB is also splitting its senior management team this week as part of a business continuity exercise. This is unrelated to the infected staff member said the agency, after some media outlets reported that apart from vacating the premises, some departments had already begun to split their teams into different groups.

“Separate and unrelated to this case is PUB’s rehearsal of splitting its senior management team this week,” it said. “We periodically exercise business continuity plans, of which operating split teams is one component. We regret that earlier media reporting has conflated this with the confirmed infection.”

READ: GP clinics to be reactivated as Public Health Preparedness Clinics to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread

READ: COVID-19: No plans to close schools yet, says Education Minister Ong Ye Kung

The agency also detailed the measures it was taking to guard against the disease. These include stepping up hygiene measures, equipping each employee with a personal thermometer and asking them to report their temperatures twice a day.

On Friday, Singapore confirmed nine new cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of people infected to 67. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said the ongoing COVID-19 situation will have a significant impact on the country’s economy for the next couple of quarters, calling the current outbreak “very intense”.

READ: COVID-19 to have 'significant' impact on economy: PM Lee Hsien Loong

"I can't say whether we will have a recession or not," said Mr Lee. "It's possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit."

The Government will also help minimise any retrenchments, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in his Total Defence Day message.

READ: China reports 121 new coronavirus deaths, more than 5,000 new cases

The novel coronavirus started in the Chinese city of Wuhan but has since spread to more than 25 countries.

So far more than 1,300 people have died from the novel coronavirus and more than 63,000 people have been infected, the vast majority in China.

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Source: CNA/hm


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