5,000 staff to catch S'pore households with more than 8 visitors during CNY is fake news

Better not forward such WhatsApp messages.

Joshua Lee | January 29, 2021, 11:51 AM

You might have received this WhatsApp chain message recently:

"5 thousand temp staff have been deployed as enforcers this New Year season to catc h offenders who flouted the rules which permitted only 8 visitors per household. Owner of house will be fined $10k. Each visitor $300. So please plan your visit this CNY."

This is not true.

The Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) debunked the fake message yesterday (January 28), reported CNA.

"There is no such hiring exercise being conducted by agencies involved in the enforcement of safe distancing measures (SDMs) and safe management measures (SMMs)."

The ministry added that agencies have been hiring and deploying Safe Distancing Ambassadors since the Circuit Breaker in 2020 and the number has remained constant.

"There is no plan to hire an additional 5,000 SDAs for the Lunar New Year period,” said MSE.

Fake news.

The ministry also urged the public to "follow the rules, do our part by being socially responsible, including during festive periods, to prevent a resurgence in community transmission and keep Singapore safe".

Not so easy to enforce rule

Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) co-chair Lawrence Wong has previously acknowledged that enforcement for this new rule is "not going to be so easy".

He listed a few possible ways that the enforcement might occur, including tattletale neighbours and random checks by enforcement officers.

In response to a media question, Wong said that the random spot checks are not newly implemented, and have been carried out before.

Top image by Joshua Lee.