Published: 04 June 2020
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what has been done, and what will continue to be done, to care for our home team officers as they take on additional roles to enforce law and order issues surrounding the fight against COVID-19.
1. The Home Team officers are deeply involved in the COVID-19 crisis, from coordinating the whole-of-government response at the Public Service level and supporting the Multi-Ministry Task Force, to implementing COVID-19 border policies and measures, supporting MOH in contact tracing, and enforcing Stay-Home Notices and egregious breaches of safe distancing. The Home Team has put in place various measures to protect and support the officers.
2. Home Team Departments have implemented split teams and safe distancing at work places. Officers who can work from home will do so. Temperature checks are conducted twice daily to ensure that our officers are well before they perform their duties. We are delivering more services using automation or through digital means to reduce physical contact.
3. For officers who may have to come into contact with potential COVID-19 cases, for example SCDF’s Emergency Medical Services personnel, and Home Team officers helping manage the situation at Government quarantine facilities and foreign worker dormitories, they will don the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE), such as mask, face shield, gloves, cap and goggles. Alternative accommodation is arranged upon request for officers deployed for COVID-19 related operations, to minimise contact with their family members during the period of deployment.
4. We are also mindful about the mental well-being of our officers during this period. Supervisors and commanders engage the officers to gather feedback, motivate and raise morale. Self-care materials and guides are disseminated to officers on a regular basis. We have also distributed “care packs” which include personal items such as reusable masks, Vitamin C supplements, and hand sanitisers.
5. Home Team psychologists and in-house para-counsellors look out for distressed officers. Home Team Departments have also intensified the manning of counselling helplines.
6. The Ministry will support and care for our officers working on Singapore’s response to COVID-19.