Coronavirus: Unions to give out care packages to cleaners, healthcare workers

Mr Desmond Choo (standing, second from right), NTUC's assistant secretary-general and PAP member, joined youth volunteers in preparing care packages for healthcare workers. PHOTO: NTUC
NTUC secretary-general and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng (fifth from left) and Batu executive secretary and PAP member Zainal Sapari (third from left) with staff from cleaning company Spic & Span. PHOTO: NTUC

SINGAPORE - Thousands of care packages were being prepared on Saturday (Feb 15) for cleaners and healthcare workers on the front line of Singapore's efforts against the ongoing outbreak of Covid-19.

One of the efforts, led by the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees' Union (Batu) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), will benefit 4,000 cleaners over the next few weeks.

Some 300 care packages - containing five surgical masks, a bottle of hand sanitiser, a bottle of medicated oil and two packets of green tea - were given out on Saturday to cleaners at Suntec City, Millenia Walk, Nanyang Technological University and those from cleaning company Spic & Span.

Batu executive secretary and People's Action Party (PAP) member Zainal Sapari said some cleaners have put in extra effort and worked longer hours since the outbreak. "It is therefore only right that we do our part to support our cleaners... to help them look after their own health," he said.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (Feb 15), NTUC secretary-general and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng said that what the cleaners are doing is "essential". "They work hard and are now working even harder...please give them a wave and say thank you," he wrote.

Separately, 30 youth volunteers from Young NTUC and Young PAP also prepared 400 care packages for healthcare workers, some of whom were reportedly shunned in public spaces.

The packages - which contain canned drinks, snacks, hand cream and a thank-you note - will be passed to the Healthcare Services Employees' Union for distribution.

Mr Desmond Choo, NTUC's assistant secretary-general and PAP member, also joined the youth's packing efforts on Saturday.

Meanwhile, at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday evening, performers at an inaugural cultural show organised by the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (PA Mesra) will show their appreciation for healthcare workers in a different way.

The Mesra Berzapin Gala show, which will last for 90 minutes, is aimed at promoting the Malay traditional zapin dance to the wider community but a special song has been written in tribute to the doctors and nurses involved in Singapore's efforts to contain the coronavirus.

Titled Mesra Bersamamu, which translates to Mesra With You, the song signals the Malay community's gratitude to the courage and sacrifice of healthcare workers, the People's Association (PA) said.

PA Mesra and other volunteers will also aim to make 1,000 ribbon flowers from Saturday to next Friday (Feb 21). These will be presented healthcare workers and other frontline officers.

The Government announced earlier on Wednesday that it would distribute one million face masks to private clinics which can be used by medical staff.

A 61-year-old general anaesthesiologist on Friday became the first medical professional in Singapore to be infected with the virus.

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