Former Singaporean DJ and model Jade Rasif took to Instagram to share the terrible experience she had with COVID-19 quarantine orders relating to her new domestic helper who arrived from Indonesia, and the lack of communication from the authorities on what to do.
Here’s a rundown of what has transpired thus far:
16 May: Jade Rasif shared how her helper was discharged early from SHN before being re-quarantined, family not given SHN
On 16 May, Ms Rasif shared on her Instagram that she had earlier paid S$2,500 for her domestic helper to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival from Indonesia, as per the current safety procedures for incoming travellers.
But after just three to four days, Ms Rasif received a call from the quarantine centre telling her that she has 12 hours to pick up the domestic helper from the centre and take her home.
They informed Ms Rasif that the migrant domestic worker had recovered from COVID-19 and doesn’t need to be quarantined anymore.
“We were like… Umm I think y’all should quarantine her?! The person on the phone said ‘Oh she’s recovered from COVID, so it’s chill”, Ms Rasif recalled in her post.
“And we were like.. Ok y’all are the Government so y’all know best. Not questioning the guy was the biggest mistake of my life guys,” she went on.
Since the authorities has cleared the helper, the Indonesian woman went about her life and had gone out to visit places in Singapore, said Ms Rasif.
Two weeks later, however, Ms Rasif received a phone call informing her that her helper needed to be tested for the virus again. The test came back positive and the helper was picked up by an ambulance and taken to a quarantine centre.
Ms Rasif said she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do next, whether she should quarantine given that she is a close contact.
She also noted her surprise that the authorities had not asked her or her family to be quarantined or observe any Stay-Home Notice. Still, to be safe, Ms Rasif decided to update her colleagues, friends, and family on the situation with her helper either way.
“But no I am free to roam the streets. No quarantine, No SHN. Ok so I contact my colleagues, family and friends, and I’m like sorry my maid has COVID-19 and is in quarantine. And we are all losing our minds. We have no one to call, no one to talk to, no number,” she wrote.
Two days later, trying to figure out what to do and with no one to contact, Ms Rasif got in touch with the ambulance driver who had picked up her helper. However, the woman replied with profanity and was of no help.
At this point, Ms Rasif decided to self-quarantine but she had to appear in court for a case.
“So I let the court know my maid has COVID-19. They’re like… Do you have proof? No. A letter? No. A WhatsApp? No,” she wrote.
After that, she was surprised again when she received two phone calls from the police who were investigating her for violating a quarantine order.
She stressed, “A quarantine order I was never given.”
Feeling guilty about possibly putting people at risk, and being investigated by the police for a quarantine order that she was never given, Ms Rasif then forked out another S$200 per person for her family to be voluntarily tested for COVID-19 since the authorities hadn’t done so.
Soon after, Ms Rasif received a call from the quarantine centre saying that her helper was indeed positive for COVID-19 but was non-infectious and asymptomatic and that she would have to be quarantined for three weeks.
Ms Rasif also noted her surprise when she knew that her helper, though tested positive for the virus, had not been assigned a case number.
Her family’s tests results came back negative for the virus and that her helper was discharged after serving the quarantine period.
She added that everyone in her family had been vaccinated except for her toddler son.
17 May: MOM claims Ms Rasif’s account is “inaccurate”
Just a day after Ms Rasif’s posts went online, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a Facebook post on Monday (17 May), dismissed Ms Rasif’s story and said that her account is inaccurate
“Ms Jade’s account however is inaccurate and we would like to set out the facts.” wrote MOM.
It said that the helper had been “assessed to be free from current COVID infection and had not posed a risk to her employer’s family”.
MOM further mentioned that the helper arrived in Singapore on 11 April, and was tested on arrival. They said the polymerase chain reaction test was negative while the serology test was positive, which informed their assessment.
The helper was then assessed to be safe and was discharged from SHN on 13 April.
The statement went on to say that the MOM and the Ministry of Health (MOH) had decided to test the helper again “because of the worsening COVID-19 situation and new understanding of the infectiousness of variants of concern in the region” and they “wanted to be sure”.
MOM noted that further assessment was needed to confirm that the MDW’s later positive PCR test was not a re-infection but rather an indication of an old infection.
MOM also clarified that the reason the helper was not assigned a case number after having tested positive for COVID-19 was that the clinical assessment was still ongoing.
The ministry said: “From our experience, most recovered individuals who test positive on PCR do so because they are shedding dead viral fragments from an old infection and are not active COVID-19 infections. Only the latter would require a case number.”
The MOM also noted that the family could go ahead with their daily activities as the helper’s infection remained low.
As to Ms Rasif’s claim that she was investigated for breaching quarantine orders (QO), MOM said since the family was not under QO anyway, an investigation could not have been done.
They also disputed Rasif’s claim that she didn’t have anyone to contact about her helper’s situation. MOM said that both it and MOH had contacted the helper’s employer—identified only as Ms Rasif’s family member—on two occasions, 5 and 6 May.
The first contact was an email from MOM to inform the family that the MDW needed further assessment to determine if she tested positive on the PCR test because of a current or old infection. They noted that MOM’s contact numbers were included in the email.
The second contact on 6 May was a phone call to verbally explain to the family the need for further tests to be done on the helper.
MOM said the helper was assessed on 9 May to be shedding dead viral fragments, was recovered from an old infection and was not currently infectious. She was determined to be medically fit for discharge and was returned to her employer.
The ministry said it has reached out to Ms Rafi’s family when it received an email from her/family on the complaint made against the ambulance driver and added that it hopes to receive more details that will enable the ministry to assist the family with the complaint.
17 May: Ms Rasif counters MOM’s claims, offers evidence for her story
On MOM’s post that same day, Ms Rasif called out the Ministry for certain inaccuracies in its post including the dates they have stated which she claims do not match the ones printed on the movement order that was issued to her.
Ms Rasif said that the helper did test positive initially and served two days of SHN before being discharged to the family.
She also noted that she did in fact receive two phone calls from the police who were investigating her for breaching QO. She offered to provide MOM information so they could look into it further.
In her comment, Ms Rasif also said that she has a letter indicating the dates MOM took her helper in for quarantine, which was days before 5 May when MOM claimed it had emailed the family to say that more tests were needed. She said she had also called MOM and other agencies on 2, 3, and 4 May.
Again, she offered to show MOM the quarantine order for her helper which shows the date her helper was taken in.
18 May: Ms Rasif says MOM apologised
The next day on 18 May, Ms Rasif shared on Instagram stories that she has spoken to MOM and “presented receipts”. She noted that the MOM has “apologised and admitted that their press release was inaccurate, and made without sufficient research” after looking into the evidence she handed them.
She added, “I have extended the opportunity for us to re-release a joint statement to reveal the truth to the public.”
20 May: Ms Rasif shares emails, messages, and phone calls with MOM and police to prove her story
In an attempt to provide better clarifications regarding the case, Ms Rasif went on Instagram on Thursday (20 May) to share evidence of phone calls, text messages and emails she exchanged with the MOM.
She noted that she shared these exchanges to point out that her version of the story is not inaccurate, contrary to what MOM had earlier claimed in its press release.
MOM manager admits to the error via WhatsApp message
Ms Rasif first shared a WhatsApp conversation with a manager from MOM who asked her to take down her posts, presumably the ones that mentioned that MOM has admitted its error. The manager asked her to do so as the Ministry is still working on releasing a joint statement to clarify and address its errors.
As a reply, Ms Rasif wrote: “I can change it? But it’s accurate to what we discussed. I just wanted to provide an update/holding statement while waiting”, adding that the officer had then ghosted her for two days without providing any updates.
MOM did not receive update from police about investigation; Police officer confirms that Ms Rasif was under “preliminary investigation”
Separately, in response to MOM’s claim that Ms Rasif could not have been investigated by the police for breaching quarantine orders as no QO was issued, the former model shared another phone conversation she had with an officer from MOM who clearly said that they had not received any updates from the police before making its claim in the press statement.
She also disclosed a phone conversation she had with a police officer who said that she was just part of a preliminary investigation and not an actual investigation.
MOM still waiting on MOH clarification on case number issue
Seeking clarification on why her helper had not been assigned a case number after testing positive, Ms Rasif shared a phone call she had with the MOM manager who said that they were still clarifying with the Ministry of Health (MOH) on this issue.
He added that there have been some changes in the current operation procedures, and this is why there has been no case number given to Ms Rasif’s domestic helper after she tested positive for COVID-19.
“Even if there’s a great explanation for the missing case numbers, don’t say you’ll set out the facts when a full day after publishing your statement, you still have no facts! You’re both managers and you don’t have the facts,” she wrote in her Instagram Story.
He also went on to apologise for releasing a statement with no proper explanation on what had actually happened.
No response from MOM on complaint about ambulance driver
In MOM’s statement on 18 May, it said that MOM has reached out to Ms Rasif about the complaint, but is still waiting for the former model to send them the details.
The social media personality, however, shared screenshots of an email exchange she had with MOM where she furnished them with all the necessary information that they wanted to carry out its investigation against an ambulance driver who allegedly was rude to her.
She said she submitted all the details and evidence to them on 6 May but did not receive any reply from MOM after that.
21 May: MOM yet to publicly apologise or rectify earlier statement
As of 21 May, however, it appears that the MOM has yet to come out with a statement, joint or otherwise, to clarify the error it had made.
MOM’s original FB post on 17 May disputing Ms Rasif’s account of the incident has not be updated to reflect the error either.
TOC understands from Ms Rasif that the balance SHN fee was not returned but she was later told during the phone conversation with MOM officers that she can apply for the refund. Ms Rasif, however, pointed out that this was a minor issue and that she had told the MOM officers that she did not want a refund.
TOC has also written in to MOM, asking if the ministry will be issuing a clarification with regards to the statement made on Ms Rasif’s story. No response has been received so far.
Update: 22 May Ministry apologies to Ms Rasif.
MOM wrote in a FB statement on Saturday evening that it extends its apologies to Ms Rasif over the use of the word “inaccurate” and how one of the points in its 17 May FB post could have portrayed Ms Rasif to be providing an inaccurate account on the Quarantine Order investigation.