Finding a Safe Home for Singapore Frontline Workers

Properties offered by Safe Home Programme will be heavily discounted to ensure these workers have a sense of home during these troubled times.

Crisis situations like this bring out the best and worst in people. We are seeing the best among teachers, parents, public transportation drivers, entrepreneurs and healthcare workers – sacrificing their time and health, giving their 100%.

However, the worst is something we least expected amidst this Covid-19 pandemic.

Late April, there were cases around the world where frontline workers, doctors and nurses that work in hospitals were attacked because of fears of them bringing the deadly coronavirus back into neighbourhoods and/or into homes.

From nurses getting strangled to death in Mexico, healthcare workers getting hit in the face with bleach in Philippines,to stones hurled at health officials in India,these are just a few of the many cases reported around the world. According to the WHO, there are already 35 cases of such attacks across 11 countries.

The situation in Singapore is the same too; nurses have been reported to be ostracized as early as February in MRTs and public places. 

The result? Healthcare workers abandoning their scrubs and uniforms in fear of being attacked or bullied. With the number of people signing up as volunteers have declined too across several charity organisations and NGOs, if this continues, we’ll see much fewer professionals in the already manpower-starved healthcare industry.

Are you a frontline worker in search of discounted accommodation? Click here!

Sadly, this isn’t  unique to the Covid-19 situation. In 2019, there were 4 Ebola workers who were killed in Congo and similar anecdotes from the SARS epidemic in 2002.

However, there is a way to help. As nations globally enforce quarantine/lock-down measures, the travel industry is directly affected – resulting in dozens if not hundreds of vacant rooms and residences. Why not put them to good use? These vacant hotels, serviced apartments and residences can be used to temporarily house healthcare and other essential workers in this pandemic.

Introducing our Safe Home Programme

We, at MetroResidneces, are taking our serviced apartments and making them a home for our frontline workers.

Properties offered by Safe Home Programme will be heavily discounted and includes essential facilities, like laundry and kitchen facilities, to ensure these workers have a sense of home during these troubled times. Under this initiative, frontline workers will be able to book selected apartments at special rates.

Ultimately, we want to provide a safe and secure space where frontline workers can rest well without the concern of potentially infecting their loved ones.”
– James Chua, CEO, MetroResidences

Protecting healthcare workers’ immediate families

Fears of being in close proximity with doctors and nurses are not unfounded. Frontline workers in hospitals work in extremely high-risk environments as they care for infected Covid-19 patients.

Though precautions are taken, including proper use and wear of personal protective equipment (PPE), infections still happen.

Similar to circuit breaker measures, we must isolate people of high risk from the larger community, reducing intra-community spread of the virus.

Fully furnished and flexible places of stay

In Singapore alone, there are 14 public and 9 private hospitals spread across the island. However, not all essential workers work in close proximity to their places of work.

With serviced apartments and residences stepping in, they are able to choose the closest apartment to their place of work. Nurses that work together in the same shifts could even stay together by choosing units with 2, 3 or even 4 rooms!

This cuts down travel time between work and ‘home’, reducing the risk of transmission along their journey of commute.

Most apartments come fully furnished too – wifi, air-conditioning, washing machines – providing them a comfortable and luxurious place to stay.

Feasible solution for long term stay

Such residences are also suitable for long term stays. With shopping malls and grocery stores in the vicinity of most of these residences, healthcare workers are able to buy their groceries and essentials and cook them in the fully equipped kitchens.

Kitchens and dining areas have becoming a must for modern day living, however not always available in private accommodation options like hotel rooms.

This way, when nurses are not on their shifts, they are able to ‘stay home’ too, in the comfort and safety of their apartments – also ensuring the safety of their family members and loved ones.

Sustainable alternative for quarantine measures

In Singapore, foreign workers who have recovered from the virus have been housed on SuperStar cruise ships. This is a response to the lack of properly ventilated and adequately spaced accommodation for them to be temporarily isolated from the wider community and population.

However, more space is still needed.

Not only for infected and recovering patients but also professionals (medical experts, for example) arriving in Singapore to assist or consult healthcare bodies – are required to be quarantined for at least 2 weeks. China sent their medical experts to Malaysia, Cuban medical teams to Honduras, and even experts moving between states in countries around the world.

Such movements, with quarantine orders that usually come along with it, require more available accommodation to house these individuals until they complete their stay-home notice period.

Even after they complete their stay-home notice, will still able to stay in the same residence until they leave the country.

As the battle with the virus rages on, everyone in their respective professions and industries are finding ways to contribute to vanquishing the virus as soon as we can – at the same time, bringing out the best in all of us.

To learn more about…

Check out the Safe Home Programme here and find out how you or someone you know, can find a safe space to rest while leading the lines in fighting this coronavirus.

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