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With the 2019-novel Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) been identified to be the cause of severe pneumonia in China, and cases having been exported to other countries and cities, including Singapore, employers are being advised to place employees on a leave of absence (LOA) in certain conditions.

These include cases where employees have travelled to China in the past 14 days (especially on work-related travel), those who need to monitor their health for various reasons, or have been asked to minimise close contact with others.

Ministry of Health (MOH) Singapore has released a fresh set of guidelines on 27 January 2020 on what must be done during an employee's leave of absence:

  • You should remain contactable at all times.
  • Remain in your place of residence as much as possible during your LOA.
  • Minimise visitors to your residence. You should maintain a record of persons you come into close contact with during your LOA.
  • You may leave your place of residence to purchase daily necessities or to attend to important personal matters. However, you should minimise your time spent in public spaces and contact with other individuals, and return to your place of residence as quickly as possible. If necessary, you may opt for home delivery services or enlist the assistance of others for your daily necessities.
  • You should avoid going to crowded places and attending social gatherings during your LOA.

Check for symptoms during leave of absence

  • Monitor yourself for fever (e.g. fever ≥ 38°C) and respiratory symptoms such as cough and breathlessness.
  • If you develop fever, cough or breathlessness, or are feeling unwell, you should seek medical attention immediately at any outpatient clinic. Please inform the staff and doctor of your travel history. Wear a surgical mask before leaving your residence and avoid taking public transport.
  • In emergency situations (e.g. difficulty in breathing), you should call 995 for an ambulance to take you to hospital. Please inform the 995 operator of your travel history to mainland China.
  • You should update your employer or institution point-of-contact if you are unwell and that you are seeking medical attention.

Reminder to observe good personal hygiene

  • Maintain good personal hygiene, including hand washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Maintain good indoor ventilation.
  • Avoid sharing food, crockery, utensils and other personal hygiene items.
Photo / 123RF

Note: This article does not provide any medical advice.