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Singapore sets up multi-agency task force to improve public hygiene in fight against Covid-19

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Singapore authorities are stepping up public hygiene standards in its latest salvo against the coronavirus outbreak as it acknowledges border controls may eventually become less effective.

SINGAPORE authorities are stepping up public hygiene standards in its latest salvo against the coronavirus outbreak as it acknowledges border controls may eventually become less effective.

This comes as the number of confirmed cases worldwide push close to 100,000, with numbers increasing rapidly particularly in countries outside China, where the coronavirus originated in late December.

“As border control efforts become less effective, we need to double up efforts in Singapore,” Lawrence Wong, National Development Minister and co-chair of a multi-ministry task force set up to deal with the outbreak in the Republic, said during a press conference on Friday morning.

To that end, a multi-agency task force called the SG Clean Taskforce has been formed to “galvanise a whole-of-nation effort” to raise cleanliness and public hygiene in Singapore.

Chaired by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, the SG Clean Taskforce builds on the work that has already started with the SG Clean campaign to instil a “keep Singapore clean” culture”, a statement from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said.

The task force consists of members from the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Communications and Information, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Mr Masagos said the task force will focus on three areas - the cleanliness of public spaces, encouraging good personal hygiene and encouraging an adjustment of social norms to reduce the spread of diseases.

As part of the SG Clean campaign, the National Environment Agency and Singapore Food Agency have been working with hawker centres and coffee shops to be part of the SG Clean quality mark certification programme.

Greater accountability will be placed on premises managers for the cleanliness of their premises. They will be required to submit and implement an environmental sanitation programme and remedy any lapses in public cleanliness on their premises, MEWR said.

They will also be required to appoint a trained designated person to develop and implement an environmental sanitation programme.