The latest coronavirus 2019-nCoV, or better known as the Wuhan virus has already reached our shore. While there is nothing to panic about yet, we should not be complacent either. The most important thing to do now is to keep personal hygiene level high.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has provided advisories for various sectors to implement leave of absences for employees, clients and students who have recently returned from mainland China.

While not everyone who has travelled to China and other affected areas will be infected, the institution of a leave of absence will allow government agencies, institutions and employers to mitigate potential risks posed by travel in light of the rapidly evolving situation.

Persons who have been put on a leave of absence (LOA) should stay at home and minimise close contact with others.

They should monitor their health closely and seek medical attention if they develop any fever or symptoms of acute respiratory illness such as cough or shortness of breath.

Do not confuse yourself over LOA and quarantine. They are two distinctly different things. You will only be placed under quarantine if you are suspected of being infected.

WHAT MUST BE DONE DURING YOUR LEAVE OF ABSENCE (LOA)

  1. You should remain contactable at all times.
  • Remain in your place of residence as much as possible during your leave of absence. Don’t take the chance and go shopping. Be responsible.
  • Minimise visitors to your residence. You should maintain a record of persons you come into close contact with during your leave of absence. I know it is Chinese New Year and to record everyone that visited can be a hassle, so best not to allow any visitors. Stay at home and watch NetFlix.
  • You may leave your place of residence to purchase daily necessities or to attend to important personal matters. However, you should minimise your time spent in public spaces and contact with other individuals, and return to your place of residence as quickly as possible. This is also a good chance to abuse your family members to get things done for you.
  • You should avoid going to crowded places and attending social gatherings during your leave of absence. Your friends probably would not want to meet you either. Save yourself the embarrassment of rejection and just not plan to meet them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for persons under LOA

Am I under quarantine orders?

No, you are not under quarantine orders.

You may leave your place of residence to attend to matters, but are strongly advised to minimise your time spent in public spaces. If you need to shop, please do online shopping instead.

Given that this is only an advisory, can I not comply to the guidelines stated?

Yes, but you are strongly advised to comply as a precautionary measure to prevent transmission of disease in your workplace, place of education, or to members of the public. If anyone else gets into trouble, remember, the blood is on your hands. Okay, joking only.

Do I need to be on LOA immediately?

You are strongly advised to be placed on LOA immediately, to reduce transmission of disease in your workplace, place of education, or to members of the public. Defeats the purpose of LOA if you do a round island run before going home right?

Can my family members continue to stay with me during this time? Are they at risk of infection?

Yes, your family members may continue to live with you. However, you and your family should observe good personal hygiene practices. If you become unwell, avoid contact with your family members and seek medical attention immediately. That being said, if you do not like them, just do not show them this article and tell them they need to leave the house so you can get the whole house to yourself. Don’t say you learned this here. Thanks.

What will happen if I am unwell? Will I be isolated if I turn out to be a confirmed case subsequently?

Seek medical attention if you are unwell. Wear a surgical mask before leaving your residence and avoid taking public transport. This is also the part where you can make your family member run that errand for you and buy the mask.

Please inform the staff and doctor of your travel history. Your doctor will assess your health and may refer you to hospital if further assessment is necessary. If you are subsequently admitted and tested positive for 2019-nCoV, you will be treated in an isolation room, until you are well enough to be discharged.

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Stay safe! And Stay at home.

Source: Ministry of Health, Singapore.

Header image provided by Shutterstock.com.