7 Questions answered
What has been the most memorable experience working on the frontlines, at the COVID-19 quarantine zones?
I think basically as everybody has highlighted, is the fact that we are doing it as a team, as a group, you know what I mean? Not just as single individuals. Personally, most memorable for me would be the heat. Damn bloody hot. Once you wear your full PPE, the white stuff, the yellow stuff, the goggles, the face shields, everything, it’s like a sauna. So the first time when we were given an area where we can take off our PPE after we finished swabbing, it’s like wow. Sweat was just dripping all over, so that was memorable. There was this nice puddle underneath me after that.
What are the challenges you faced at the COVID-19 quarantine zones (aside from the heat), maybe on the personal or mental level?
Perhaps (it’s) going to different sites and having to work with what they provide us. Every site is different in terms of the size, the location of the swabbing area, so you have to go there and make a decision pronto. And take into account the safety of everyone involved -- the MOM staff, the SAF staff, and all the foreign workers as well. So that’s quite a challenge.
What are the lessons that could be learnt from working at the COVID-19 quarantine zones?
Something about what Raymond said about the (circuit breaker). When we are in the circuit breaker, we’re at home, we find it very inconvenient. But when we go out to the dorms, we go out to the sites, we see with our own eyes that it’s the weekday but everything’s so quiet. Everything’s shut down. There’s nobody walking around, there’s nobody working. And then we can see, my goodness, the impact on our economy. We’d always see the numbers later, you have already seen some of the numbers, but I’m sure the numbers will be bad.
What propels you to volunteer as frontline workers at the quarantine zones?
Ultimately I think it’s a summary of what everyone had said so far. It is a mammoth task like Fay said, and we only realised how big a task it was after the first few days of being in the dorms and swabbing. And being able to help directly as Badrun said, it makes us feel (like) at least we’re helping in this huge, huge task and it’s all hands on deck. That’s how I feel. I think all the help that can come in is really needed.
What kind of work goes into ensuring that the COVID-19 quarantine zones are kept in line?
I think that when we go down we are very happy to see that we’re not the only ones there. Ministry of Manpower has also sent people in, the Singapore Armed Forces have got people in, so there’s actually a good team that’s been set up. And we work well (together). Q&M works well with these two agencies and we’re able to execute our job, (do) what’s needed, and at the same time maintain the integrity of the infected area so that we don’t bring things in or take anything out.
What were your initial thoughts when faced with the task of volunteering at the COVID-19 quarantine zones? Things like your families getting worried?
I think I share the sentiments of everyone. We all want to help, and when given the opportunity, we were ready to go, we have so many volunteers who have signed up under Q&M that every day when there’s a task we have more than enough for the numbers required. But at the end of the day when you finish and you go back, just before you step into your home, there’s always this thing at the back of your mind. You know, you want to be safe, the people have to be safe -- your loved ones have to be safe, so I think that’s very important. So to me, it’s a fine balance.