2 years of Covid-19

'More people or fewer people, I do the same work': Office cleaner continues working through pandemic

"Earlier this month, I got Covid-19." says Absolute Cleaning's Madam Ong Poh Choon. PHOTO: ABSOLUTE CLEANING

SINGAPORE - Madam Ong Poh Choon, 55, a cleaner with Absolute Cleaning, has been working in an office in the Orchard Road area for the last five years.

In the first month of the circuit breaker, I was not allowed into the office due to nationwide restrictions, but I was paid.

When I went back to work after that, there were very few people in Orchard Road. It was like a ghost town.

The bus I took in the morning to work from my home in Choa Chu Kang was also empty.

Before Covid-19, I used to go to work five times a week. During Covid-19, most of the staff in the office began working from home, so I went to work three times a week. I got the same salary.

More people or fewer people, I do the same work.

I wipe the tables, clean the pantry, then clean the toilet and vacuum the carpet floor.

I was also quite scared when Covid-19 first hit because the virus seemed quite deadly then. My children - they were 24 and 26 years old then - told me to be more careful, to sanitise myself regularly and to try to minimise contact with surfaces. When I got home, I took a shower immediately. I still do that now.

I took my first dose of vaccine quite early on to protect myself as I was going out of the house often.

When people started getting vaccinated, I saw more workers in the office. With more people back, it's more lively and it makes my job easier. We don't talk too much, but when we pass by one another, we would greet one another.

Earlier this month, I got Covid-19. At first I felt uncomfortable, and then I developed a high fever and a mild sore throat.

Two days later, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Covid-19 and given five days' medical leave. When I went back to the doctor, I was still positive on the antigen rapid test, but the red line was quite faint. He gave me medical leave for another two days, but I recovered the following day.

I returned to work the next week. Since it was after the easing of some Covid-19 restrictions, I noticed that there were more people back in Orchard Road.

I enjoy my work and will probably do it till I reach retirement age. Before becoming a cleaner, I was a food and beverage service employee and I had to stand for long hours.

Next month, I will be going for a workplace safety and health course paid for by my company and I am looking forward to it. It's always good to learn.

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