Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Stigmatised and stressed out, Singapore frontliners to get RM12,000 reward

The government says it is a form of appreciation although it will not compensate for the sacrifices and the social stigma faced by public health workers.

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Some 100,000 healthcare workers in Singapore will get a windfall of S$4,000 (RM12,300) as a special reward as the city-state battles a fierce surge of Covid-19 cases which has so far claimed 468 people.

The government said the money will be paid to all public healthcare staff including at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and dialysis centres beginning next month.

The health ministry also announced a S$10,000 grant to every clinic that acts as the first port of call for infected patients, which will be shared among staff.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the monetary reward, while it does not compensate for the frontliners’ work, was the government’s way of appreciating their sacrifices, adding that they had also faced a social boycott from members of the Singapore public worried about being infected due to the medical workers’ exposure to patients.

“This work is not for the faint-hearted. I have seen, with anger and shame, the disgraceful behaviour of those who shun nurses and healthcare workers, who turn away from you near your homes, who refuse your journeys,” Ong said as quoted by The Straits Times.

“You are our last line of defence – standing between us and the abyss. When vaccination, safe management, therapeutics and the patient’s last bodily resistance are all breached, you still refuse to yield. You stand next to the patient as his last hope.”

Singapore, once praised for its handling of the pandemic with near zero cases each day, began struggling with a sharp spike just as authorities announced the reopening of businesses and daily activities in September.

Daily cases have averaged around 3,000 in the island state of 5.7 million despite its herd immunity, although new infections fell to just below 1,800 yesterday possibly due to fewer tests during the Deepavali public holiday.

Nine more deaths on Friday took total deaths to 468, following a sudden increase in casualties since mid-September.

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