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Healthcare workers battling COVID-19 to get special bonus of up to 1 month

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
The National Centre for Infectious Diseases. (Photo from Google Streetview)

SINGAPORE — Front-line public officers involved in battling the COVID-19 new coronavirus will get a special bonus of up to one month, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday (28 February).

“Our frontline healthcare workers deserve our fullest support and encouragement,” said Heng in his wrap-up speech for the Budget debate on Friday afternoon.

“Indeed, our frontline workers, especially healthcare workers in the restructured hospitals, have shown outstanding courage and dedication. They are out there making daily sacrifices to fight this war against the unknown,” he added.

Heng cited the sacrifices put into tacking COVID-19 by three healthcare workers. Senior nurse manager Ziyadah Zainuddin, who has been working more than 12 hours daily at Singapore General Hospital’s isolation ward, had to skip her birthday celebration.

Meanwhile, Dr Melissa Tien, who volunteered at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases’ 24-hour screening centre, has to sleep in a different room from her husband and forgo time with their two children.

Similarly, NCID nursing director Margaret Soon cancelled a family trip to work at the frontline and had the understanding and support of her family. During the fight against the SARS outbreak in 2003, she had been pregnant with her daughter while working.

Said Heng, “The selflessness and commitment of our healthcare workers have shone through as they bravely care for those affected, and tirelessly work to contain the spread of the virus. They are an inspiration to all of us, and their spirit of excellence has been recognised around the world.”

He added, “While we cannot thank them enough, we can show our appreciation and support in a tangible way.”

Those eligible for the bonus include officers from the Ministry of Health and restructured hospitals, as well as some officers in other front-line agencies who are directly involved in tackling the outbreak.

“Other public officers who have contributed significantly will be recognised in appropriate ways,” said Heng.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Preparedness Clinics, which have been actively helping those with respiratory problems, will also get a one-off COVID-19 grant.

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