28th March 2020

MOH Circular No. 87/2020

ADVISORY FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS WHO ARE STAYING IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD WITH PERSONS ON STAY-HOME NOTICE/ LEAVE OF ABSENCE


This circular sets out the guidelines by the Ministry of Health (“Ministry”) for healthcare workers (HCWs) who are staying in the same household as persons serving Stay-Home Notice (SHN)/ Leave of Absence (LOA).


Additional precautionary measures 

                   

2.    In view of the heightened risk of importation of COVID-19 cases into Singapore, Singapore has taken further steps to reduce the risk of the virus being imported to Singapore and spreading locally. These include enhanced safe distancing measures and requiring all returning Singapore residents who have travelled to the UK and US to be taken from the airport to hotels to serve their SHN, with effect from 25 March 2020, 2359 hours. However, Singapore residents returning from other countries will continue to serve out their SHN in their own homes. Our HCWs may also have family or household members returning from overseas who need to observe SHN/LOA in the same household. 

                   

Advisory for HCWs staying in the same household with persons serving SHN 

                   

3.    As HCWs interact with individuals who are vulnerable (e.g. patients with pre- existing conditions or frail seniors), we would like to remind our HCWs to take the necessary measures to monitor their own health and those in the same household. Your efforts to stay socially responsible during this period would be essential in safeguarding patients’ and fellow HCWs’ safety. 

                   

4.    In particular, healthcare providers are requested to inform all HCWs that they are required to observe the following precautions:
 

  1. They must not report to work if they are unwell. Supervisors should also instruct staff who appear to be unwell at the workplace to seek medical attention immediately.    

  2. Adhere to MOH’s Advisory for Individuals Sharing Residential Spaces with Persons Issued Stay-Home Notice (updated on 25 March 2020 and attached at Annex A for easy reference) and take the necessary precautions to maintain social distancing, such as minimising interaction and contact with household members serving SHN. This includes not sharing the same room with household members on SHN if practical, avoiding the sharing of food, crockery, utensils and other personal hygiene items, and maintaining good personal hygiene at all times. The precautions in this advisory also apply to individuals sharing residential spaces with people on LOA. If the option of working from home is available to non-care facing staff, they should do so.

  3. The household members on SHN should also abide by the conditions of their SHN strictly.


                                                

ADVISORY FOR INDIVIDUALS SHARING RESIDENTIAL SPACES WITH PERSONS ISSUED STAY-HOME NOTICE 

                   

ADVISORY FOR INDIVIDUALS SHARING ROOM / APARTMENT WITH PERSONS UNDER STAY-HOME NOTICE

                   

1.    While it is not necessary to be segregated from the person placed under SHN and you can continue to share the same room/apartment, you are encouraged to reduce interaction and minimise contact with them. For example, you can avoid close and sustained contact by not sharing a bed, avoiding common areas within the apartment as much as possible, having separate meal times or eating in dedicated spaces, ensuring proper ventilation etc. The person under SHN is also advised to avoid having visitors to the residence.


2.    Avoid sharing the same toilet with persons under SHN where possible. If not possible, toilet must be cleaned after each use by the person under SHN.


3.    Avoid having visitors to the residence.


4.    Avoid sharing food, crockery, utensils and other personal hygiene items.


5.    Maintain good personal hygiene at all times. This includes flushing the toilet after use and regular hand washing with soap and water (including before and after handling food or eating, and after going to the toilet).


6.    Ensure that the home is clean and well-ventilated, and ensure that frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, taps, handles, countertops are wiped down with disinfectant regularly.


7.    If there are vulnerable persons in the household, e.g. seniors aged 60 and above, persons with underlying health conditions, advise the person under SHN to avoid interacting with the vulnerable persons and consider alternative accommodation if these interactions cannot be avoided.


8.    If any member in the household develops fever and/or respiratory symptoms, seek medical assistance at the nearest Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) immediately and inform the doctor that you are living with a person who has recently returned from overseas.                                  

       
                                                

ADVISORY FOR DORM OPERATORS / LANDLORDS / MANAGEMENT OF PREMISES / FACILITIES 

                   

9.    Dorm operators, landlords and other relevant management of facilities should not evict occupants under SHN from their residence. 

                   

10.    If an occupant under SHN is sharing a room with others, there should be a wide separation between beds and dedicated spaces for storage of belongings. Occupants under SHN should not mix in spaces allocated to other persons. 

                   

11.    Occupants under SHN should remain at their place of residence at all times. They are not to use public common facilities such as function rooms or gyms. The person under SHN is also advised to avoid having visitors to the residence. 

                   

12.    Please ensure that your facilities/premises are kept clean. Routine cleaning of facilities/premises should be carried out as per normal. No special precautions, such as masks, gloves or disinfectant use, are needed beyond that used for routine cleaning. 

                   

13.    If the occupant under SHN turns unwell (e.g. fever, cough or breathlessness), take down the names and contact details of all persons who have come into close contact with the occupant when he/she was feeling unwell. The occupant should seek medical attention through the relevant channels e.g. work pass holders should seek assistance from their employers, employment agents or the dormitory operators. If the occupant is confirmed to have COVID-19, MOH officers will contact the facility operator/management to trace all those who came into contact with the occupant. 

                   

PENALTIES FOR BREACH OF STAY-HOME NOTICE 

                   

14.    Individuals who breach their Stay-Home Notice by leaving their residence, may be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act. First-time offenders can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both. 

                   

15.    For further information, please visit the MOH website at http://www.moh.gov.sg/


                                                

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) FOR INDIVIDUALS SHARING RESIDENTIAL SPACES WITH PERSONS UNDER STAY-HOME NOTICE 

                   

1. Can someone live in the same room as a person under Stay-Home Notice (SHN)? 

                   

While you can live in the same room as a person under SHN, you are encouraged to avoid interaction with the person under SHN. For example, avoid sharing a bed, set the beds as far apart as possible, minimise spending time together, have separate meal times, ensure that the room has proper ventilation, etc.. 

                   

2. Can persons under SHN share the same toilet as other occupants in the same household? 

                   

You are advised to avoid sharing the same toilet where possible. If it is not possible to do so, avoid using the toilet at the same time and clean toilet surfaces after each use. 

                   

You may also wish to allow some time to pass between toilet usage, in order to allow any remaining water droplets after showers to settle to the ground. Sharing the same roll of toilet paper is safe as long as the toilet roll is not stained, soiled or wet. 

                   

Do not share towels. 

                   

3. I operate a dormitory. Do I need to segregate a person under a SHN from other occupants of the dorm? 

                   

While persons under SHN can stay in the same dormitory room as others, where possible and practical, measures to minimise contact between a person under SHN and other occupants are encouraged. Examples of these could include separating belongings of workers to minimise overlapping circulating space, having separate meal times, ensuring proper ventilation, etc.. 

                   

Do not share beds.