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(Updated) Wuhan virus: Quarantine vs Leave of Absence (LOA)

By January 29, 2020Current

TL;DR – Quarantine got allowance, but will kena fine if breached. LOA no money take, but no fine.

TL;DR – Now Quarantine and LOA both got money take! Quarantine will kena fine if breached, LOA will also see tighter surveillance and enforcement.

Updated 6 Feb 2020

The authorities have just announced some updates:

  • All employers will have to notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of employees who are due to return from China.
  • There will also be tighter surveillance and enforcement of the 14-day leave of absence (LOA), which is mandatory for all such workers, whether they are Singapore residents or foreign work pass holders.
  • Employers will also receive $100 a day for each worker serving the LOA, and this is applicable to Singaporeans, permanent residents and work pass holders.
  • This is equivalent to what they are receiving for those on quarantine orders.
  • The foreign worker levy for those on LOA will also be waived for that period.
  • For workers who have been evicted by their landlords, the Government will work with dormitory operators to provide facilities if employers cannot find accommodation for workers to serve their LOA.

Check out this infographic on Quarantine Order and LOA too!

Some people are confused by being placed under quarantine and Leave of Absence (LOA). Let’s clear it up.

Quarantine

When Singapore saw its first cases, the authorities had carried out contact tracing and put 75 close contacts of the first four confirmed cases under quarantine.

But when we saw more cases, the authorities implemented additional measures to mitigate or minimize community spread. It then expanded the quarantine orders to some 2,000 people who were in Hubei in the past fortnight, if deemed to be a risk, or who carry passports issued there, as well as residents and long-term pass holders returning from Hubei.

Under the Infectious Diseases Act, anyone flouting the quarantine for the first time may be fined up to $10,000, jailed up to six months, or both.

The penalty is higher for subsequent breaches.

Quarantine Order Allowance only for Singaporeans and PRs

Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) who are quarantined will receive S$100 a day.

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Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who is the co-chair of a multi-ministry task force set up to handle the Wuhan virus situation, was responding to a question about the kind of assistance offered to those whose livelihoods would be affected by the quarantine restrictions.

“It (the allowance) will be given to the employer for those working. It will be given to the individual for those who are self-employed.”

He added that the allowance is just one measure and that the Government is looking at other potential economic measures to help those who are affected, vulnerable groups as well as affected sectors of the economy. He further clarified,

“It’s not given to tourists who are quarantined. Our whole point is to help Singaporeans.” 

What about Home Quarantine?

For those served with quarantine order, they can opt for home quarantine, instead of government quarantine facilities, if they have the facilities for it. This includes having a room and toilet facilities not shared with anyone else. This is to minimize discomfort for affected people.

Those in home quarantine cannot physically interact with others living in the same premises or leave home. Spot checks – both by phone and in person – will be carried out to ensure that they abide by the restrictions.

Those who do not have such facilities at home may opt for government quarantine facilities.

via MOH

 

Wuhan Virus: 3 new cases, 3 zillion more headline readers and where are all the masks?

 

Leave of Absence (LOA)

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has provided advisories for various sectors to implement leave of absences (LOA) for employees, clients and students who have recently returned from mainland China.

For instance, students and teachers returning from China to Singapore will have to take a compulsory 14-day LOA.

Staff who come into close contact with vulnerable groups in the preschool, healthcare and eldercare sectors returning from China will also have to abide by the LOA of compulsory 14 days.

Other than schools, all employers are advised to collect a health and travel declaration from staff who have travelled to Mainland China.

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Even NS pre-enlistees whose records indicated that they had recently been to China might be affected and be put on LOA.

Persons who have been put on a leave of absence should stay at home and minimise close contact with others. They should monitor their health closely and seek medical attention if they develop any fever or symptoms of acute respiratory illness
such as cough or shortness of breath.

Here are some FAQS extracted from MOH’s official website.

Q1. Am I under quarantine orders?

No, you are not under quarantine orders. You may leave your place of residence to attend to matters, but are strongly advised to minimise your time spent in public spaces.

Q2. Do I need to be on LOA immediately?

You are strongly advised to be placed on LOA immediately, to reduce transmission of disease in your workplace, place of education, or to members of public.

Q3. Can my family members continue to stay with me during this time? Are they at risk of infection?

Yes, your family members may continue to live with you. However, you and your family should observe good personal hygiene practices. If you become unwell, avoid contact with your family members and seek medical attention immediately

Q4. What will happen if I am unwell? Will I be isolated if I turn out to be a confirmed case subsequently?

Seek medical attention if you are unwell. Please wear a surgical mask before leaving your residence and avoid taking public transport. Please inform the staff and doctor of your travel history. Your doctor will assess your health and may refer you to hospital if further assessment is necessary. If you are subsequently admitted and tested positive for novel coronavirus, you will be treated in an isolation room, until you are well enough to be discharged.

Q5. Where do I get the latest information on the disease situation?

Health advisories and latest information on the local disease situation are available on the Singapore Ministry of Health website at www.moh.gov.sg. For queries, please call the MOH general enquiry hotline at 6325 9220.

For the latest global disease situation, you may wish to refer to information on the World Health Organisation website at www.who.int.

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What must be done during your Leave of Absence (LOA)

  1. You should remain contactable at all times.
  2. Remain in your place of residence as much as possible during your leave of absence.
  3. Minimise visitors to your residence. You should maintain a record of persons you come into close contact with during your leave of absence.
  4. You may leave your place of residence to purchase daily necessities or to attend to important personal matters. However, you should minimise your time spent in public spaces and contact with other individuals, and return to your place of residence as quickly as possible. If necessary, you may opt for home delivery services or enlist the assistance of others for your daily necessities.
  5. You should avoid going to crowded places and attending social gatherings during your leave of absence.

Check for symptoms

  1. Monitor yourself for fever (e.g. fever ≥ 38°C) and respiratory symptoms such as cough and breathlessness.
  2. If you develop fever, cough or breathlessness, or are feeling unwell, you should seek medical attention immediately at any outpatient clinic. Please inform the staff and doctor of your travel history. Wear a surgical mask (see Annex A) before leaving your residence and avoid taking public transport.
  3. In emergency situations (e.g. difficulty in breathing), you should call 995 for an ambulance to take you to hospital. Please inform the 995 operator of your travel history to mainland China.
  4. You should update your employer or institution point-of-contact if you are unwell and that you are seeking medical attention.

via MOH

Observe good personal hygiene

  1. Maintain good personal hygiene, including hand washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand rub.
  2. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  3. Maintain good indoor ventilation.
  4. Avoid sharing food, crockery, utensils and other personal hygiene items.

(Featured image via NTUC)

 

 

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Maggie O

Author Maggie O

Digital extrovert. Social introvert (warning: 93% introverted!) In the day, I work to put cai-png on the table and ice-cream in the fridge. In the night, I read a lot and write a little. Also, all views expressed in my contribution pieces here are based on my personal opinions, and they do not reflect the ideas, ideologies, or points of view of my employer (past, current and future).

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