S Iswaran: Contract worker for SingPost felt 'unwell but still came to work'

He said such behaviour "underscores the importance of staying at home and avoiding social interactions if unwell".

Kayla Wong| April 02, 10:50 PM

A contract worker employed by SingPost was "unwell but still came to work", Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran said.

S Iswaran: Contract worker caused the SingPost cluster

In a statement released by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) on Thursday, April 2, the minister said the contract worker had caused the cluster at SingPost.

He said such behaviour "underscores the importance of staying at home and avoiding social interactions if unwell".

He added: "Exercising social responsibility is key to our collective effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 in Singapore."

SingPost: Contract staff reported to work while on medical leave

In a statement by SingPost released on the same day, April 2, SingPost said the contract staff had reported to work on March 19 while on medical leave.

He was subsequently tested positive Covid-19. 

SingPost added that seven full-time SingPost employees tested positive for Covid-19 between March 27 and April 2, with dozens more quarantined as a precautionary measure.

SingPost further said that it "immediately disinfected all operational facilities at SingPost Centre and spent countless hours facilitating through contact tracing".

Workers did not have contact with the members of the public

An IMDA spokesperson also reiterated that according to experts, Covid-19 "cannot be transmitted through the postal network and mail articles", adding that the affected workers are "not postmen and do not have any contact with members of public in their line of work".

The affected workers are as follows:

  • Case 581, confirmed on Mar. 24. He is a 47-year-old male Singapore Permanent Resident.
  • Case 689 is a 76-year-old female Singapore citizen who had recent travel history to Malaysia.
  • Case 724 is a 29-year-old male Malaysian, who is a Singapore Work Pass Holder.
  • Case 740 is a 25-year-old male China citizen, who is a Singapore Work Pass Holder.
  • Case 796 is a 26-year-old male Malaysian, a Singapore Work Pass Holder, who had recent travel history to Malaysia.
  • Case 881 is a 39-year-old male Singapore Permanent Resident with recent travel history to Malaysia.

SingPost staff infected despite strict safety protocol

It was previously reported on March 27 that the contract staff was confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 on March 25.

The staff was last at the SingPost Centre's packet-processing facility on March 19.

Two full-time SingPost employees working on the same floor also tested positive for Covid-19 subsequently on March 27.

They were not postmen, and do not have contact with members of the public in their line of work.

SingPost said in a statement released on March 27 that the infections occured "despite SingPost's strict health-screening and social distancing protocol for all contractors and staff members".

Government to support re-deployment of displaced workers from other sectors to SingPost

In the statement, S Iswaran also said the government will "support SingPost to safeguard the wellbeing of its workers, ensure the continued delivery of letters and parcels, and minimise the impact on essential postal services for the public".

He added that the Ministry of Communications and Information, as well as IMDA, are working with government agencies to "re-deploy displaced workers from other sectors to SingPost".

SingPost: Possible delay in mail delivery

In addition, SingPost said there might be a possible delay in mail delivery of up to "an additional three working days".

Here is its statement:

A good number of employees are currently under Quarantine Orders issued by the Ministry of Health, or placed on leave of absence by SingPost as a precautionary measure to curb the spread. To cope with the loss of manpower, SingPost has started reaching out to companies with excess manpower to supplement the shortfall.

Some of these companies have been adversely affected by the slowdown, for example, in the aviation sector. With the increase in demand for domestic deliveries, we anticipate that we will require more manpower and will therefore work with industries with excess manpower to create more jobs in the immediate term.

We anticipate a delay in delivery of up to an additional three working days but we continue to do our utmost in fulfilling our commitment to the Nation, even as we tackle the COVID-19 situation together. We seek the public’s patience and understanding.

Top image adapted via S Iswaran/FB & SingPost