Coronavirus: Ambassadors and enforcement officers to be deployed to ensure safe distancing in HDB estates

Ambassadors and officers will be deployed in Housing Board estates to remind people to stop loitering in public and be socially responsible. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - In a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Government is deploying officers in Housing Board estates across Singapore to remind people to stop loitering in public and be socially responsible, as well as to enforce safe distancing.

This comes as Singapore begins a month-long circuit breaker period from Tuesday to May 4, during which most workplaces will be closed from Tuesday and all schools will move to full home-based learning a day after.

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said in a statement on Monday (April 6) that safe distancing and SG Clean ambassadors, as well as enforcement officers, will be deployed from various public agencies.

The ambassadors and officers will discourage loitering and gatherings in public and dining out, and ensure safe distancing is practised in queues through advisories and enforcement actions.

MEWR said that the elevated safe distancing measures apply to public and private housing estates, parks and other shared spaces, and non-compliance is an offence.

Enforcement officers will be conducting inspections and "stern actions" will be taken against those who breach safe distancing measures, the ministry added.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) began enforcement operations for safe distancing at Singapore's 114 hawker centres on Sunday.

NEA officers will hand out written warnings and take down the particulars of those who continue to defy the regulations. Stricter enforcement measures may be imposed when necessary, said the agency on Sunday.

Under the Infectious Diseases Act, first-time offenders can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both, upon conviction.

During the month-long circuit breaker period, MEWR said the public is strongly advised to be socially responsible by staying at home, limiting social contact to household members, not gathering in groups, keeping a safe distance from others and not dining out.

The multi-ministry taskforce announced the circuit breaker last Friday. It comprises an elevated set of safe distancing measures that kick in on Tuesday for four weeks following a trend of more Covid-19 cases being locally transmitted.

These measures aim to reduce movement and interactions in public and private places and will be in place from Tuesday until May 4.

"We all have to play our part. Our collective efforts will go a long way in curbing the spread of Covid-19," MEWR said in its statement.

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