SingPost debunks audio clip about Covid-19 infected postal worker spitting on letters

SingPost staff working at the SingPost Centre at Eunos Road on May 31, 2019.
SingPost staff working at the SingPost Centre at Eunos Road on May 31, 2019.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - An audio clip circulating on WhatsApp about a postal worker infected with coronavirus spitting on letters is "absolutely untrue in Singapore", a SingPost spokesman said on Saturday (March 28).

According to the spokesman, the clip had circulated from Malaysia along with a message claiming that it was from "Dr Christopher Lee, Head of Covid-19 Team at Sungai Buloh Hospital".

The person in the clip claimed to have seen a report about a postal worker spitting on letters after having tested positive for Covid-19, and warns people to set aside mail for at least a day before handling it.

In response to the circulated audio clip, the SingPost spokesman said: "This is absolutely untrue in Singapore. This clip is currently making the rounds globally, including in Singapore, and has the potential to instil panic and mistrust against national postal services, who play a vital role in a country's essential mail delivery service."

He added that the clip had already been debunked by Malaysia's Ministry of Health and its Prime Minister's Office.

The doctor who had allegedly recorded the clip has also formally stated that he had done no such thing.

SingPost has strict processes that all postal workers must follow in Singapore, including a strict temperature and health declaration regime, segregation by teams, social distancing and round-the-clock equipment wipe-downs, said the spokesman.

He added that all of SingPost's mail-processing staff members wear gloves, earphones and masks during their shifts, and that teams are also monitored via CCTV cameras across operation floors to ensure their safety and compliance with SingPost's measures.

The spokesman said: "Along with all global postal organisations, we emphasise there is no evidence for mail and postal items presenting a risk to the public at this time."

 
 
 

In a statement later on Saturday night, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said it was aware of the audio recording, and reiterated that it had been debunked by the Malaysian authorities.

IMDA also cited Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases specialist practising in Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, who said: “Once the virus is exposed to the hot humid environment of Singapore, it will begin to rapidly break down. Even if someone deliberately sabotages the mail, the virus will never survive to reach your mailbox.

"The time it takes to post and for it to leave the sorting machine will kill it. Even if your mail is sealed with a kiss, the virus will die by the time it reaches your mailbox. Nonetheless, it is a good habit to wash your hands after handling any mail.”

IMDA added that members of the public should rely on official channels such as the Ministry of Health’s official website and the Gov.sg WhatsApp channel to get accurate and up-to-date information on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore.