New safe distancing guidelines, standards for workplaces after Covid-19 circuit breaker

The new guidelines will build upon existing measures to ensure safe distancing in workplaces for workers in essential services.
The new guidelines will build upon existing measures to ensure safe distancing in workplaces for workers in essential services.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - When workplace activities gradually resume after the circuit breaker lifts, the Government will need to put in place new guidelines and standards to ensure that they remain safe from potential Covid-19 outbreaks, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Friday (May 1).

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Mr Wong said these guidelines will build upon existing measures to ensure safe distancing in workplaces for workers in essential services, such as wearing masks at work or not having workers socialise among themselves.

These guidelines, which will be part of new workplace safety standards, will also be complemented by a testing regimen as well as some form of technology that can ensure better tracking and monitoring should a confirmed case emerge in the workplace.

"These are a whole series of new protocols and measures that we are already planning, and we will put in place as we get nearer the end of the circuit breaker," said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 outbreak.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong added that such standards, which will take a workplace health and safety approach, would have to be differentiated across different sectors depending on the risk assessment of each sector.

"It's not a one-size-fits-all measure that we will put in place...(We will) progressively share more as we open up more," said Mr Gan.

Mr Wong added that it is also premature to assume that Singapore will be free from Covid-19 and that normal life can resume by June or July, even if community cases appear to be coming down.

"Experts are already worrying about a second wave around the world which might well coincide with the flu season and may be even more devastating than what we have today.

"So the basic posture has to be that we're in for a long fight, there will be recurring waves of infection that we have to deal with , and even if we get over this current wave in Singapore today, we have to remain vigilant and relax or adjust the measures very gradually," said Mr Wong.