If you’ve not seen the 2008 movie Quarantine, it’s about a television reporter and her cameraman who are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC. It’s like the situation we have now with the Wuhan virus, except the outbreak of the mysterious virus in this movie turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.
Now, while a virus that makes humans eat each other is pretty scary to watch, it’s fictional and nowhere near as frightening as what the world is currently facing with the Wuhan coronavirus.
At the time of writing, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China is 5,974, with the death toll rising to 132.
And while the deadly disease originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the coronavirus has spread all over the world.
In Singapore, two new cases were confirmed yesterday (28 Jan), bringing the total number of infected patients to 7.
That’s why the government is taking drastic measures to stem the spread of the virus.
At the moment, only 75 close contacts of the first four confirmed cases that the authorities have been able to reach are under quarantine.
But with the advent of stricter measures, up to 2,000 people might be quarantined; those who were in Hubei in the past 14 days, those who carry passports issued there, as well as residents and long-term pass holders returning from Hubei.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that these new measures are necessary because there is a “real risk” of the virus spreading if it’s not contained.
$100 ‘Allowance’ Per Day
Now, when you’re in quarantine, you’re obviously not allowed to interact with anyone else (That’s the whole point of being quarantined). Spot checks – both by phone and in person – will be carried out to ensure that they abide by the restrictions.
This may make it difficult for those quarantined to carry out their day-to-day responsibilities, which is why the government is offering aid in several areas.
Firstly, residents here will be given the option of home quarantine if they have the facilities for it. This includes having a room and toilet facilities not shared with anyone else.
If they do not have such a facility, they can opt for government quarantine facilities.
Secondly, authorities said they would assist quarantined people who live alone and need to get groceries, for instance.
The authorities will also provide financial help, giving self-employed people $100 for each day they are quarantined.
Reader: *starts coughing* I think I need to stay at home
Now, before you start faking symptoms, you should know that this $100 goes to your employer if you’re salaried, because the quarantine period will not come from your annual leave.
And this allowance is only given to Singapore-based employers, self-employed Singaporeans, or permanent residents.
It’s not given to tourists who are quarantined.
And obviously, if you start exhibiting symptoms associated with the virus while under quarantine, you’ll be taken to a hospital and treated as a suspect case.
$100 ‘Allowance’ Was There During SARS
Now, you may think that this $100 allowance is one of the new measures introduced to combat the Wuhan virus, but Minister Wong said the $100 quarantine allowance is not new.
“We did it for Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) too,” he wrote.
According to The Straits Times, quarantine is far more stringent than leave of absence as it comes under the Infectious Diseases Act. Anyone flouting the quarantine for the first time may be fined up to $10,000, jailed up to six months, or both.
So, if you’re asked to be under quarantine, I suggest you comply. Plus, it’ll give you an excuse to binge-watch an entire series on Netflix in one day without feeling bad about yourself.