Coronavirus: Swabbers and swab assistants wanted, pay starts at $3,400 a month

A healthcare worker storing a nasopharyngeal swab to test for Covid-19, on April 28, 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - As the fight against Covid-19 in Singapore continues, the Health Promotion Board, with the assistance of NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), is hiring swabbers and swabbing assistants to support wider Covid-19 swab testing efforts.

e2i, a tripartite initiative of the National Trades Union Congress set up to support nationwide manpower and skills upgrading initiatives, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (May 12) that the swabbers would provide support in Covid-19 operations and in community care.

Swabbers are required to perform nasopharyngeal swab procedures - a method of collecting clinical test samples from the back of the nose and throat by inserting a swab into the nostril.

The employment offered is a short-term contract for swab operations, for instance swabbing of foreign workers in dormitories, and does not provide any progression pathway unlike full-time healthcare professional roles in the public healthcare system, said the Ministry of Health.

Neither does it include any additional allowances or bonuses.

Successful candidates will start off as swab assistants with a monthly salary of $3,400.

Those who become swabbers after training and assessment will earn $3,800 a month.

On the sign-up sheet for the position, e2i said training on how to perform swab procedures, including familiarisation with all aspects of the personal protective equipment, will be provided.

It added that for individuals who are unable to be mask-fitted, other roles can be explored.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin talked about the recruitment drive when he said: "The jobs scene will be of concern as the Covid impact on the economy begins to bite. It will begin to get even more serious.

Mr Tan added that this was part of a bigger effort to create more new jobs whether on a temporary basis or more long term.

Other responsibilities of swabbers include checking clients for any respiratory symptoms and coordinating with doctors to swab and attend to isolated clients who have declared positive for respiratory symptoms.

Successful candidates will be posted to places such as community recovery facilities, government quarantine facilities and nursing homes.

Swabbers and swab assistants will rotate six working days a week for six months with the option to extend for another three months.

Those who wish to apply must ensure they are medically fit with no history of chronic diseases and must be proficient in English and one mother tongue.

Applicants must also be able to work in shifts or extended hours and over weekends if required.

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