Coronavirus: Basic military training to be suspended for a month; recruits to stay home

The basic military training suspension period will count towards the recruits' full-time national service. PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Armed Forces will suspend basic military training (BMT) from Tuesday (April 7) to May 4, in line with the Government's "circuit breaker" measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Some 3,400 full-time national servicemen recruits have been directed to strictly observe national guidelines while at home, and only go out for essential activities, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on Monday.

The recruits will be provided with "home-based instructional material" on basic skills and fitness development, the ministry added.

It said the BMT suspension period will count towards the recruits' full-time national service (NS), and their operationally ready date will not be affected.

The recruits will continue to be eligible for NS allowance and medical benefits during the suspension as well.

They will complete their BMT after the Covid-19 outbreak has subsided.

The latest measures announced by the ministry follow the announcement last Friday of the strictest measures to date to keep people at home and break the chain of transmission, including closing most workplaces for at least a month from Tuesday (April 7).

Singapore has seen a sharp spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases in the past week.

Mindef said the SAF has reviewed the impact of suspension and "concluded that there would be little impact on operations as active units would be able to provide cover".

Other SAF training schools which are needed to maintain its operational readiness, such as the Officer Cadet School and Specialist Cadet School, will continue with enhanced safety measures previously announced, it said.

During direct enlistment exercises last week, guests were not invited to Pulau Tekong as part of new measures due to the coronavirus outbreak. Parents had to drop off their enlisting children at Selarang Camp instead.

The recruits were also to observe safe distancing, such as during mealtimes at the cookhouse or when drawing equipment. Training will also be conducted in smaller groups.

Activities involving operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) such as in-camp training and the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) have already been deferred until May 4, said Mindef last Friday (April 3).

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