Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How visited the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) at Pulau Tekong to observe the enhanced measures put in place at SAF camps after the Ministry of Health (MOH) stepped up the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) from Yellow to Orange on 7 February 2020 in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
During his visit, Mr Heng observed servicemeDn undergoing their routine activities while adhering to the measures put in place for DORSCON Orange. These measures include twice-daily temperature taking for all personnel, temperature screening at all camps and bases, stepping up workplace cleaning and disinfection schedules, and staggering meal times and deferring non-essential large-scale social activities to reduce mass interaction.
Mr Heng also observed the conduct of a safety brief on the precautionary measures, and interacted with SAF personnel. Speaking at the end of his visit, Mr Heng said, “From what I saw and also during my interaction with the soldiers just now, they have full confidence in the measures that are taken with respect to handling the virus situation, and they have every confidence that they will remain well taken care of over here. This is something that we really want… to give this confidence to all of our soldiers undergoing training, be it regulars or NSmen, that we will take good care of their health.” Mr Heng also emphasised the importance of maintaining operational readiness amidst the 2019-nCoV situation.
He said, “We have to defend this country, regardless of whether or not there is a virus situation. That said, we must understand that where there is such a situation, we must take the necessary steps to safeguard the health of our soldiers. This is exactly what we are doing to make sure that both are our top priorities as we continue with our training and as we look after the health of our soldiers.”
The SAF has also been supporting the fight against COVID-19 in Singapore, such as through the packing of 5.2 million masks for Singapore households, supporting the MOH in contacting of personnel identified to have a risk of being infected, as well as temperature screening operations at Changi Airport.