Coronavirus: ComCare received 344 calls in first 12 days of stay-home scheme; 10 referred to social service offices

Ten people were referred to social service offices for follow-up but they turned down financial help as they said they were financially stable. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Social assistance scheme ComCare has attended to 344 calls from people on mandatory stay-home notice as of Sunday (March 1), of which 10 people were referred to social service offices (SSOs).

ComCare's programmes are funded through the Community Care Endowment Fund, a key social safety net providing a financial lifeline to struggling Singaporeans launched in 2005.

"Most calls were clarifications on the stay-home notice process, as well as general requests for assistance to buy groceries and household items," said a Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) spokesman yesterday.

He added that all the 10 people referred to SSOs turned down financial help as they said they were financially stable.

Stay-home notices kicked in at 11.59pm on Feb 18. They are issued to returning Singapore residents and pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China, excluding Hubei. Those issued the notice cannot leave their homes for 14 days.

In cases where those under the notice have no one to help them, the MSF will work with the People's Association to help deliver groceries and household items to their residence, the ministry spokesman added.

MSF said in cases referred to SSOs, whether they are under the stay-home notice or have been quarantined, social service staff will first contact the person to check if he requires financial or other forms of assistance.

If he requires support that is not financial, the office will liaise with the relevant government agencies to ensure that the person receives the necessary help, he added.

Citizens and PRs who need help during the stay-home period can call ComCare at 1800-222-0000.

Meanwhile, immigration officers have issued 77 stay-home notices in the first 12 hours of the stay-home notice scheme. Those who flout stay-home rules can be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act.

They could be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both, for the first offence. For subsequent offences, this could go up to a maximum of $20,000 and up to a year.

Permanent residents (PRs) and pass holders may have the validity of their re-entry permits or passes shortened or even revoked.

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