Hundreds of Certis officers involved in serving quarantine orders, checking people don't break the rules

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Certis officers conduct regular checks via phone calls or home visits to ensure quarantined persons adhere to the guidelines. They also escort people under quarantine and manage the security systems at quarantine facilities.
On the coronavirus front line are (from left) Sally Moo, Chiue Seng Yu, Nigel Quek and Muhammad Hasif Afiq.. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Every day, more than 200 officers report to the Certis headquarters and operations centre in Paya Lebar for 12-hour shifts, to serve quarantine orders on people across the island.

Armed with a kit, stocked with masks, gowns, gloves, hand sanitiser and thermometers, they call at the home of these people to serve them the orders and verify the state of their health.

They also check to confirm the homes are suitable for quarantine. This includes ensuring the person stays in a room with an attached bathroom, like the master bedroom of an HDB flat, for the duration of the quarantine.

The officers are among 700 front-line staff at the security firm, which has been engaged to also escort patients to receive care and manage the security systems at government quarantine facilities.

Being the only local security firm that serves quarantine orders, its officers have been carrying a heavier workload as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases keeps rising.

So how do these officers, who come face-to-face with people who could be infected with the coronavirus, stay safe on the job?

Staff Sergeant (Auxiliary Police Force) Chiue Seng Yu keeps danger at bay by donning protective gear, including masks and gloves. He also takes a daily dose of Vitamin C supplements provided by his employer, and diligently disinfects himself when he returns from his assignments.

This is the third time the 39-year-old is in a battle against a virus. A 17-year veteran at Certis, he was deployed to serve quarantine orders during the SARS crisis in 2003 and the Monkeypox outbreak in 2019.

"Having gone through the SARS and Monkeypox assignments, I'm not worried as we have been given the appropriate safety training."

He added: "Compared to SARS, we are now much more prepared, and the people we serve quarantine orders to are also well-informed and understanding."

Mr Muhammad Hasif Afiq, 29, a Certis operations manager at a government quarantine facility, said coming into contact with and monitoring both potential and confirmed Covid-19 patients is part and parcel of his job.

"I work with 107 people per shift. I feel well-protected as we have many safety measures in place."

The measures were intensified when a 37-year-old Singaporean officer tested positive for the virus, after he had served quarantine orders to two persons from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus in China.

The officers also make regular visits to the homes of those under quarantine, said Assistant Superintendent (Auxiliary Police Force) Nigel Quek Ping Ning.

"At the operations centre, we also make calls to the residents three times a day, at different times, to make sure they abide by the quarantine order," he said.

"We definitely do face challenges but at the end of the day, we all strive towards one common goal: to fight and contain Covid-19."

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