Yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, visited the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) at Pulau Tekong.
The purpose of the visit was to observe the enhanced measures put in place at SAF camps after the Ministry of Health (MOH) stepped up the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) from Yellow to Orange.
Mr Heng witnessed servicemen undergoing their routine activities as they comply with the measures put in place for DORSCON Orange.
The center which currently has 5,000 recruits, has introduced measures, including twice-daily temperature taking for all personnel, temperature screening at all camps and bases, stepping up workplace cleaning and disinfection schedules, staggering meal times and deferring non-essential large-scale social activities to reduce mass interaction.
However, not much has been said about how temperature taking will be able to address those infected who show mild or no symptoms/
Mr Heng’s visit follows public outcry in the media, urging In-Camp Training’s (ICT) to be suspended following local transmissions of the coronavirus.
“The very purpose of my visit today is indeed to give confidence to our soldiers and their families that there is no need to worry, that we understand the situation and that we have in place the measures, (which are) the same as those maintained on the mainland under the guidance of the MOH (Ministry of Health),” Mr Heng said.
Mr Heng personally viewed the conduct of a safety brief on precautionary measures that were put in place in light of the infectious disease.
The Senior Minister remarked that “We have also reminded every soldier to take good care of himself and herself to go see a doctor or let the commanders know when you’re feeling unwell.”
At the end of his visit, Mr Heng concluded that “From what I saw and also during my interaction with the soldiers just now, they have full confidence in the measures that are taken with respect to handling the virus situation, and they have every confidence that they will remain well taken care of over here. This is something that we really want… to give this confidence to all of our soldiers undergoing training, be it regulars or NS men, that we will take good care of their health”.
Among others, Mr Heng emphasized the importance of maintaining operational readiness amidst the 2019-nCoV situation. He stressed it is of top priority to continue training and looking after the health of the armed forces.
The SAF has also been actively supporting the fight against the 2019-nCoV in Singapore. Two weeks ago, SAF had worked around the clock in packing 5.2 million masks for Singapore households, supporting the MOH in contacting personnel identified to have a risk of being infected.