The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is warning employers NOT to send employees to hospitals unless there is a medical emergency, after getting feedback from hospitals that workers were being sent to be tested for the coronavirus.
Mr Kevin Teoh, divisional director of MOM’s foreign manpower management division, stressed that medical facilities and resources need to be focused on individuals who need treatment and hospitals will not test those who are well.
“Our hospitals are working hard to ensure that medical emergencies are handled promptly,” he said. “We encourage you to be socially responsible and only send workers to the hospital if it is a medical emergency as doing so otherwise will deny immediate treatment to those who need it.”
The message did not give details of the employers or workers that have been sent to hospitals, but included a warning that “employers who act irresponsibly by misusing medical facilities might have their work pass privileges suspended”.
Mr Teoh also said employers should monitor the health of their workers by checking their temperature twice daily and reminding them to observe good personal hygiene, such as washing their hands frequently with soap.
A worker who is unwell should be sent to a general practitioner, who will assess if he or she needs to be taken to hospital.
MOM has been taking employers and workers to task for not following rules restricting workers’ entry and movements when returning from China. For example, MOM revoked the work passes of two workers and suspended their employers’ work pass privileges last Thursday for breaching entry approval requirements.
On February 9, MOM repatriated four work pass holders and suspended six employers for not complying with Leave of Absence rules.
On Monday, the Government introduced the Stay-Home Notice scheme which requires all those who return from China not to leave their homes for 14 days.
MOM told The Straits Times that the scheme also applies to all work pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China. This is stricter than the previous Leave of Absence scheme, where people could still leave their residence briefly to get food and other necessities.