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Singapore hiring swabbers, swab assistants; pay starts at S$3,400

Elvira Manzano
12 Jun 2020

Singapore is hiring swabbers and swab assistants to ramp up testing efforts in the island nation and eventually stop COVID-19 in its tracks. The job comes with a generous monthly salary of S$3,400 to S$3,800.

The job advert posted by e2i, an employment initiative under the National Trades Union Congress, said applicants must be medically fit, with no history of chronic disease, and proficient in English and one mother tongue. Medical experience is not required as training will be provided. However, applicants must be able to work in shifts or extended hours and over the weekends, if required.

Swab assistants will receive a monthly salary of S$3,400. Those who eventually slide to become swabbers, after training and assessment, will receive S$3,800 a month. They will be required to work at community recovery facilities, government quarantine facilities, and nursing homes to perform nasopharyngeal swabs to test for COVID-19.

A slice in a bigger effort

“The jobs scene will be of a concern as the COVID impact on the economy begins to bite. It will begin to get even more serious,” said Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, in a Facebook post.  “This is one small slice in a bigger effort to create more new jobs, temporal, or for the longer term.”

Singapore’s Health Ministry said the employment offer is for a short-term contract. The job does not provide any progression pathway unlike full-time healthcare professional roles in the public healthcare system. Neither does it include additional allowances or bonuses.

The government said it aims to test all 323,000 foreign workers living in dormitories for them to safely return to work. The plan is to ramp up its daily testing capacity to 40,000 from the current 8,000.

As of May 19, over 281,000 tests on 191,000 unique individuals have been carried out in the country so far, according to the Health Ministry’s director of medical services, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak.

Singapore on track to end circuit breaker

Meanwhile, “maximum work-from-home arrangements” will continue after the circuit breaker period ends on June 1, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing at a recent news conference. About a third of workers will be able to resume work on site from June 2, while the rest of the workforce will continue to work from home, he added. Telecommuting must be adopted to the maximum extent in businesses that re-open.

Experts and officials have previously warned that reopening too soon could lead to a devastating second outbreak. The government said  the risk of a resurgence in the community remains high, so caution should be taken when circuit breaker measures are progressively lifted over three phases.

“We have to do this in a very careful and calibrated manner … we do not want to risk a flaring up of the virus again. And importantly, we do not want to sacrifice the efforts  that all of us have put in over the past weeks in controlling the outbreak,” said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said.

Safe re-opening, the first phase of the three-phase plan, will be implemented from June 2. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs a multi-ministerial task force, said this means critical, low-risk economic activities would be allowed to resume operations from June 2.

This would include reopening certain schools and some health care services, including specialist outpatient, medical and dental services, and chronic management disease services. Senior care services and activity centres will also open.

As of May 25, 31,960 people in Singapore have been infected with the coronavirus and 23 have died. This was  largely due to mass outbreaks in foreign dormitories. Cases in the community remained under control though.

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Most Read Articles
Roshini Claire Anthony, 03 Sep 2018

The rate of syphilis reactivity appears to be higher in individuals with dementia compared with those without the condition, a Singapore study has found.

12 Jun 2019
Urogenital infections remain a major reason for women to visit their family physician and their subsequent referral to obstetrics and gynaecology or urology specialists. The association between abnormal vaginal microbiota and an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as an increased rate of preterm labour, indicates the need to better understand and manage urogenital health in women. Probiotics are “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. As such, there is a sound rationale for using probiotics to maintain female vaginal and bladder health.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 16 Apr 2020
The odds of women passing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to their sexual partners appear to be low, with two studies showing no evidence of the disease-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus existing in the vaginal fluids of infected patients.
Pank Jit Sin, 29 May 2020
With the world literally being put on hold by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, stakeholders around the world are rushing to develop a vaccine that will put back some semblance of normalcy into everyone’s lives.