Covid-19 – the impact

Singapore is at DORSCON Orange level which means that Covid-19 is severe and spreads easily but has not spread widely in Singapore. There are ‘Moderate’ disruptions to daily life (I’d say minimal to be fair) as it means complying with control measures in place.

Covid -19

As of 8:42pm on 21st February 2020, the Singapore Government confirmed the current Covid-19 case numbers in Singapore (this is updated daily):

New cases: 1
Total confirmed: 86
Discharged today: 10
Total discharged: 47
Total still in hospital: 39

Most in hospital are stable or improving. 5 remain in ICU. No one has died.

What’s happening?

Singapore closed its borders to Chinese nationals some time ago and people arriving back from China are under a 14 day quarantine. The Government has introduced three levels of quarantine, with penalties for non compliance, in order to contain the virus. Older people and people in vulnerable groups are understandably staying at home.

However it is clear that many people are clearly scared and not venturing out. It is having an economic impact as stores are reducing opening hours and events are postponed or cancelled. The Government has introduced an economic stabilisation and support package to support businesses and individuals through this time of upheaval. Businesses can claim $100 a day for every individual on a Stay at Home Notice. Individuals can claim between $100-$300 and a range of other support packages whilst on a SHN (including tax rebates and rent waivers). There is a special support package for taxi drivers totally S$77bn. Businesses have been advised to split the workforce into shifts and working from home arrangements to avoid whole business shut down in case of infection.

Enhanced precautionary measures for workers’ dormitories have been implemented. All dormitories are to step up cleaning and precautionary measures, such as suspending mass activities, staggering use of common facilities, arranging for residents on LOA to stay together in a separate section of the dormitory, rnsuring food arrangements for those on LOA.

Dormitory operators are required to provide daily updates to the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”), and keep a record of residents on Leave of Absence (“LOA”).

Schools has restricted access and all children are temperature checked twice daily. Assemblies and after school activities in large groups have been suspended. Cleaning and disinfection has been increased. Travel declarations have to be made and signed.

Enforcement has been stepped up to stop spitting and littering. Public toilets are being cleaned and inspected several times a day. public Health Clinics have been reactivated offering subsidised health care and screenings for people with respiratory problems.

Estates – Increased cleaning and disinfecting, especially for touch-points like lift buttons, railings, table tops and seats found in common areas.

Public transport – Trains and buses are being disinfected more regularly, especially for touchpoints like grab poles, overhead handles, seats and windows. Surfaces at MRT and LRT stations, and bus interchanges are being cleaned and disinfected.

Markets and hawker centres – Stallholders are being engaged on public hygiene and cleanliness. This includes proper handwashing, monitoring their temperature, disposing refuse properly and separating raw and cooked food.

Food establishments- Operators are being advised to practice good housekeeping, such as storing goods above floor level to facilitate cleaning, ensuring bins are covered at all times, and to wash and disinfect all bins daily.

Signs in the shops

Nex remains fully open but individual shops vary
The kids waterpark is closed
Fitness classes cancelled
Health advisories
Customer Service deal reduced hours
Shops reducing opening hours as footfall falls

Then there are stores taking clear advantage of the demand for certain products.

The grand opening of this new store displayed wet wipes for sale (which are in high demand)
S$34 (£18.78) for a bottle of hand sanitiser

What are the quarantine orders?

A Stay at Home Notice (SHN)

This requires avoiding close and sustained contact with people, limiting time spent together at common areas. People are required to ensure proper ventilation of rooms and apartment. They are to avoid having visitors and avoid sharing food, crockery, utensils and other personal hygiene items. They are required to maintain good personal hygiene at all times and monitor their health. They must maintain a record of people they come into close contact with.

Singapore Citizens, PRs (Permanent Residents) long-term pass holders and foreign employees issued with work passes, who have been in mainland China (outside of Hubei) are issued with a SHN.

Medical Certificate (‘MC’)

GPs are to give 5-day MCs for those with flu-like symptoms. If someone is on MC they have to:

  • Stay home, even if symptoms are mild
  • Avoid crowds; don’t go to school/work.
  • Go to the same doctor if symptoms persist or get worse
  • They will be sent for further tests if they do not recover in 5 days
  • Employers are encouraged to support their ill staff.

Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a precautionary measure to prevent the possible transmission of infections. Those on LOA are required to stay at home, minimise close contact with others and monitor their health closely. Those on LOA may leave home briefly to attend to matters, but must return home ASAP.

As those on LOA are isolating themselves as a precaution and they are not unwell, the Government is urging neighbours and landlords to be sympathetic and helpful.

It is mandatory for all workers returning from Mainland China to be placed on a 14 day LOA. All employers are required to report to MOM when their workers are returning, so that their return can be staggered.

A Quarantine Order is a directive that has legal force with severe penalties for non-compliance. The individual is isolated with the aim of limiting the spread of the virus in the community. Quarantine can occur in the home or in Government Quarantine Facilities or hospitals. All travellers to Hubei are quarantined.

Penalties for non compliance with quarantine orders

The MOM has revoked the work passes of 4 work pass holders who broke quarantine and they were repatriated within 24 hours. These workers have also been banned from working in Singapore permanently. MOM has also suspended the work pass privileges of 6 employers for two years.

Please Note: I have tried to make this information as accurate as possible so if you have spotted a factual error please let me know and I will update this post. Thank you.

Useful links:


Info on SHN:


Thanking unsung heroes keeping Singapore safe:

Help those impacted by COVID-19 – contribute to The Courage Fun which To help those impacted by COVID-19 — patients, healthcare workers and those who need extra support:

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