MOH issues clarifications on falsehoods published by States Times Review

Today, the Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a clarification notice to correct and clarify a number of falsehoods that were published by the States Times Review (STR) regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

The notice, posted on MOH’s website and Facebook page clarified that the website had reported that the government was unable to trace the source of infection for any of the infected COVID-19 cases in Singapore. And the government, according this website, is the only party that requests the public not to wear masks.

To this, MOH has clarified that through epidemiological investigation and contact tracing, they were able to determine that 51 out of the 58 cases, had either travel history to mainland China, or links with previously announced cases.

Furthermore, the government says that contact tracing investigations are still being conducted for the remaining seven locally-transmitted cases in an attempt to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to mainland China.

As for the matter of wearing masks, the Ministry reiterates according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines, it is said that it’s unnecessary for those who are well and healthy to wear masks. WHO’s guideline, according to MOH, advises people to practice good hygiene, such as regularly washing hands.

This aside, only those who are unwell or who suffer from respiratory symptoms are cautioned to wear masks to prevent them from contracting the deadly disease.

Additionally, the alternative site has also mentioned China workers would receive S$100 a day for 14 days of the mandatory Leave of Absence (LOA), which will be given by the Singapore government.

According to MOH, these claims however are untrue. MOH is clear that Chinese Work Pass holders are not entitled to the $100 daily support.  It is their employer who are entitled to receive the S$100 daily support.

Contrary to what was reported, MOH says, under the Leave of Absence Support Programme (LOASP), the employers are eligible to apply for $100 daily per affected worker for the required duration of paid LOA granted to the worker. The LOASP also covers all workers, regardless of nationality.

The STR had also informed its readers that Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower was working hard to bring more workers from China into Singapore.

This claim, however, is untrue, says MOM, as there has been no record of Ms Teo ever making such remarks. Instead, MOM has an extensive screening procedure that requires employers of work pass holders with travel history to mainland China to obtain prior approval so as to slow down their workers’ return to Singapore.

Finally, STR has claimed that seven countries have banned their citizens from traveling to Singapore as there was a lack of confidence in the health measures exercised by the government.

To this claim, the Singapore government website reveals that, to date, there is no country that has banned travel to Singapore.

The notice ends with additional clarification which summarizes the Government’s collaborative efforts with other foreign counterparts on Singapore’s measures to eradicate the COVID-2019 virus.

The notice urges the public not to be misled by circulating rumours but instead to visit for updates on the COVID-19 situation.

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February 2020
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