200 police officers deployed to govt quarantine facilities

Security personnel at the entrance of Civil Service Club@Changi II, a chalet that has been designated a government quarantine facility. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Security personnel at the entrance of Civil Service Club@Changi II, a chalet that has been designated a government quarantine facility. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

About 200 police officers have been deployed islandwide to administer security at government quarantine facilities, and more may be roped in when more of these facilities are set up, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.

They ensure, among other things, that law and order is maintained at the facilities. Also, they check regularly that "quarantine is being observed", he said yesterday.

Mr Shanmugam was speaking to reporters during a visit to Civil Service Club@Changi II, a chalet which has been designated a government quarantine facility.

There were about 370 people in government quarantine facilities as of Sunday, the Ministry of National Development (MND) told The Straits Times yesterday. This was an increase from 222 a week ago.

Those under quarantine have to stay at home or in government quarantine facilities. The latest figures on the number of people under quarantine were not available at press time.

Government quarantine facilities can accommodate about 1,000 people. The Government will monitor the evolving coronavirus situation, and adjust the capacity of the facilities accordingly, said the MND.

There were 45 confirmed local coronavirus cases as of last night.

Singapore raised its disease outbreak response one level to orange last Friday.

Orange means the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact, though the situation is still under control. It is one step below red, which signifies an out-of-control pandemic.

 
 
 

Mr Shanmugam said the tasks that Home Team officers are undertaking include managing border operations and carrying out temperature checks.

"It's been a lot of strain on them... They've been doing a tremendous job," he said, adding that officers are also helping in contact tracing.

He told reporters that a Homefront Crisis Executive Group, made up of the permanent secretaries and senior officials of relevant ministries, is also dealing with the coronavirus situation.

The Home Affairs Ministry's permanent secretary, Mr Pang Kin Keong, heads the group, Mr Shanmugam disclosed yesterday.

"They give directions, they execute the decisions of the ministerial task force, and they have been, I have to say, busting their guts and working round the clock."

The group also offers suggestions to the multi-ministerial task force on the coronavirus that is co-chaired by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

It has been involved with the task force's decisions on "everything we have done so far", he said, including the reasons for raising the response level to orange and the travel restrictions that have been imposed.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2020, with the headline '200 police officers deployed to govt quarantine facilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe