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10 Apr 2020

10th Apr 2020

          The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced that parents should not send their children to the care of their grandparents on a daily basis during this circuit breaker period. This is to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection through regular interactions between households, and to protect our vulnerable seniors. The Taskforce will allow exemptions to support our essential service workers during this period.

2.            The Taskforce implemented an elevated set of safe distancing measures from 7 April till 4 May 2020, as a circuit breaker to pre-empt the trend of increasing local transmission of COVID-19. The aim is to limit the spread of the disease by significantly reducing movement and social interactions.

3.            As part of these measures, members of the public are to stay at home, and not go out unnecessarily except to purchase daily necessities, essential services, or for urgent medical needs. Seniors are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection. Hence seniors are strongly urged to stay home and minimise interactions with those outside their household.  Individuals can visit the elderly to assist them with their daily needs such as bringing them groceries, food and other essential supplies, but interaction time should be kept to a minimum.

 

Protecting grandparents from risk of infection

4.            During this period, parents are encouraged to care for their children within their own households. Employers are requested to exercise the necessary flexibility to support parents who are working from home during this time, as having to care for their children personally might take a toll on their work productivity.

5.            If it is the existing care arrangement for the child to be placed under the care of their grandparents who live outside the household and there are no alternative care arrangements, parents could consider placing their children with their grandparents throughout the entire circuit breaker period. This is to minimise frequent interactions across households.

6.            We recognise that many parents will find this a difficult adjustment, especially if they have always had daily childcare support from grandparents or pre-schools/ childcare centres. However, this is done out of necessity to protect our seniors.

 

Flexibility to be exercised for families with essential service workers

7.            While most parents would be working from home, there would be some households where parents have to continue going to work during this period. These are workers in our essential services, especially our healthcare workers who are on the frontline working on shifts and on weekends, when childcare centres may not be available, and may be activated at any time of the day to respond to the COVID-19 situation.  They will face additional difficulties which may be unnecessarily stressful for these essential service personnel. For very young children, we also recognise that it is difficult for them to be away from their parents for long periods of time, and adjusting to new caregivers that they are unfamiliar with would be challenging.  

8.            Therefore we will be implementing exemptions for the following families, where they may continue to tap on the grandparents for childcare support on a daily basis:

a.            Both parents are essential service workers and unable to work from home;
b.            One parent is a healthcare professional (e.g. doctor, nurse, allied health professional, support care staff) and is unable to work from home; and
c.             One parent is an essential service worker who is unable to work from home, and have a child/children below the age of three.

9.          Parents requiring assistance may contact ECDA at contact@ecda.gov.sg or 67359213.

 

Safe distancing precautions to protect seniors

10.          Families who are relying on the grandparents for childcare on a daily basis are advised to take the necessary safe distancing precautions to protect the elderly. Observe personal hygiene and try to reduce interaction time as far as possible when visiting their home. Do not visit when unwell. 

11.          We understand that this is a very difficult adjustment for many families, and these measures go against the instinct to be close to and to support our loved ones. But our elderly are most susceptible to severe COVID-19 infection, and we should refrain from exposing them to the risk of COVID-19 as far as possible, by minimising physical interactions with them.

  

MINISTRY OF HEALTH
10 APRIL 2020