News Recap – 05 Feb to 11 Feb

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Key highlights from recent news on COVID-19, MOM, Finance, Cybersecurity, and Sustainability below.


1/1: GP memo not needed to return to work or school after COVID-19 recovery

Students and employees who have recovered from COVID-19 infection are not required to present memos to return to work or school, including pre-schools and Institutes of Higher Learning.

This comes following a surge in patients visiting general practitioner clinics to get such letters or memos, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Education and the Early Childhood Development Agency said in a joint press release on Saturday (Feb 5).

“These visits are not necessary, and risk compromising the standard of care for other patients who genuinely require medical attention,” they said. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 with an antigen rapid test (ART) are required to isolate at home for at least 72 hours under the current health protocols. “If they are well, they may exit isolation to resume normal activities once they test negative on their self-administered ART,” they added.

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The Ministry of Manpower

1/2: Advisory on Business Continuity Plan: MOM

The number of confirmed Omicron cases has started to rise more sharply. While the number of severe cases remains low due to our high vaccination rates and Safe Management Measures (SMMs), we should prepare for surges in infections due to the higher transmissibility of Omicron.

As observed in other countries which have experienced Omicron waves, staff absences due to COVID-19 infections can significantly disrupt business operations. The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has thus called on employers, in particular those providing essential services, to prepare and be ready to implement their business continuity plans (BCPs), adhere strictly to SMMs and encourage employees to test themselves regularly, so as to dampen transmission and minimise business disruptions.

The tripartite partners are issuing this advisory to give further guidance to employers in planning and responding to potentially high levels of workforce absences.

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1/2: WSH Council launches work safety video, chemical industry leaders pledge to provide safe workplace

Continuing its drive to reduce and prevent workplace injuries here, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council launched a video to encourage employers, workers, unions in all sectors, and the Government to aim for zero workplace accidents.

The Vision Zero video, produced by WSH, was launched at the inaugural WSH leadership convention in Resorts World Convention Centre on Thursday (Jan 20). The fully animated video highlighted the importance of workers’ well-being and safety, and how accidents can be prevented.

It is part of the Vision Zero movement, which was launched in 2018 with the Jurong Island Vision Zero (JIVZ) Cluster to advocate for workplace safety. At the convention, the pledges of chemical industry leaders who committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for their employees were also presented.

Among the companies that pledged their commitment to a safer workplace were oil major ExxonMobil, Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates Singapore and Shell Eastern Petroleum.

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2/2: Singapore companies urged to have business continuity plans in place

Businesses should have procedures for staff to work longer hours to cover the work of their colleagues as Omicron cases rise, said a tripartite advisory.

The advisory has urged workers to support their employers during these “difficult times” while, at the same time, calling on employers to recognise the sacrifices and contributions of their staff and rewarding them accordingly.

Singapore should prepare for “surges in infections” due to the higher transmissibility of the Omicron variant, said the advisory released by the Ministry of Manpower, adding that staff absences due to COVID-19 infections can “significantly disrupt business operations”.

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2/2: Man dies after ladder slips in Yishun workplace accident

A 59-year-old worker died when a ladder he was on slipped during a workplace accident last month, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Wednesday (Jan 19).

The accident, which occurred at 1024 Yishun Industrial Park A on Dec 24, happened when he was descending from the ladder which was leaning against the edge of a mezzanine level. The ladder slipped, causing the worker to fall and hit his head against the floor.

He was subsequently taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he died three days later. According to an alert from the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC) on Jan 19, the man had fallen about 1.7m from the unsecured A-frame ladder.

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1/1: GST offset package can cover about 10 times cost of tax hike for some

A package that will be rolled out to cushion the impact of the impending goods and services tax (GST) hike is set to cover about 10 times the extra amount some families will spend, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Wednesday (Feb 9).

He was addressing people’s concerns that the cost of living may go up with the tax increase, which is needed to raise additional revenue for Singapore’s growing healthcare and social needs.

Mr Wong pledged that there will be a comprehensive set of measures that will offset the increase for lower- and middle-income households as well as retirees, including permanent enhancements to the GST Voucher scheme.

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1/1: 6 ways to avoid being scammed in S’pore; helplines and online resources

Scam victims here have lost more than $965 million since 2016, checks by The Straits Times showed. The Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre has developed a 6S Anti-Scam Self-Protection Principles to help Singaporeans protect themselves against scams. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Spot the signs: Recognise the tactics that scammers use.
  2. Stop and think: Ask yourself or others if a statement, message or job offer could be true.
  3. Slow down, don’t rush: Do not rush into providing your personal or banking details.
  4. Speak to others: Check with others to verify the authenticity of a claim before doing anything.
  5. Safeguard personal details and passwords: Never disclose personal information, even if the request appears to be legitimate.
  6. Seek help: Talk to friends or family members for advice or support if you have been impacted by a scam.

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1/1: World’s first LNG-fuelled bulk carrier docks at Jurong Port

The Mount Tourmaline, the world’s first bulk carrier running on liquefied natural gas, docked at Jurong Port for a top up on Monday (Feb 7). This marks a milestone in Singapore’s voyage to becoming a major refuelling hub for greener ships.

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