Coronavirus pandemic

Efforts stepped up to keep staff safe at dorms, care facilities

Safety training is also being stepped up for staff who do not come from a healthcare background.
Safety training is also being stepped up for staff who do not come from a healthcare background.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Precautions have continuously been stepped up to keep those working in dormitories or care facilities safe from Covid-19, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Mr Wong, the co-chair of the multi-ministry task force fighting the spread of the coronavirus here, said that the authorities are very mindful of the risks faced by those working in such areas.

"This is indeed an area that we are watching over very, very closely, making sure that the precautions are tight, the safeguards are stringent," he said.

Aside from providing such staff with the necessary personal protective equipment, efforts are made to ensure that they practise safe distancing and do not expose themselves to the risk of infection unnecessarily. If a case is detected, testing is carried out swiftly among staff working in the same area, allowing for quick ringfencing and containment.

"We want to give the assurance to the staff, to the volunteers who are working in these environments that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe," said Mr Wong.

He added that safety training is also being stepped up for staff who do not come from a healthcare background, such as security officers and dormitory operators and managers, as they would have had relatively less training in taking adequate precautions against infectious diseases.

Mr Wong said: "We are constantly reaching out to them, engaging them, reminding them of the precautions, providing them with the equipment and doing more tests on a regular basis as well, in order to ensure that these are safe environments for the people who are doing very important and essential work there."

Timothy Goh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2020, with the headline 'Efforts stepped up to keep staff safe at dorms, care facilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe