Singapore

Ministry debunks audio clip on people hired to police CNY visits

An audio clip circulating on WhatsApp about people being hired to enforce household visit rules during Chinese New Year has been debunked by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE).

"There is no such hiring exercise being conducted by agencies involved in the enforcement of safe distancing measures and safe management measures," said the MSE yesterday.

Speaking in Hokkien, the woman in the clip alleged that 5,000 individuals are being engaged to check households for breaches of the eight-person visitor limit during Chinese New Year.

She additionally claimed that each person will be paid $15 an hour and will be visiting homes in several housing estates.

In response to the clip, MSE said: "Agencies have deployed safe distancing ambassadors (SDAs) since the circuit breaker in 2020 and have been hiring to replace attrition."

The ministry said the number of SDAs has remained constant, and there are no plans to hire an additional 5,000 of them during the Chinese New Year period.

The Government has tightened rules on household visits ahead of Chinese New Year, in a pre-emptive move to minimise the number of social interactions and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Besides limiting every household to eight unique visitors a day, individuals are encouraged to cap their visits at two households a day.

Enforcement officers will do random spot checks to enforce the new rule on household visits, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong last week.

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic, added that neighbours of those in breach of the rules may also contact the authorities.

But it is impossible to enforce rules on interactions that take place within a home, he said.

People are encouraged to meet virtually rather than in person and give electronic red packets. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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