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Urgent demand for healthcare assistants as institutions ramp up screening

AS THE Wuhan virus outbreak continues to rattle the region, institutions across Singapore have been urgently appealing for hundreds of healthcare assistants to fill temperature screening roles.

This comes as the authorities on Wednesday implemented temperature screening for travellers on all flights into Changi Airport, which follows earlier measures at all land and sea checkpoints since Jan 24.

Mobile jobs portal FastJobs saw an increase in job postings for healthcare assistants, with a spike of 12 posts in the week of Jan 19 alone.

“These are all for part time or contract roles, with some (recruiters) shouting out for 300 screening assistants or screening officers,” FastJobs general manager Lim Huishan told The Business Times (BT).

The recruiters are actively looking for immediate manpower across schools, hospitals, clinics, checkpoints and Changi Airport.

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Interested applicants are required to work nine to 12-hour shifts and commit anywhere between one to three months. The job scope typically entails temperature screening measures and helping patients and travellers fill up travel declaration or medical forms where necessary.

On Wednesday, a posting by Recruit Express Services on FastJobs appealed for 200 staff at Tuas checkpoint, offering an hourly pay of up to S$9 for a 12-hour shift.

Some 150 to 180 people are also needed at Singapore’s sea checkpoints, which includes the ferry and cruise terminals, said a representative from recruitment agency BGC Group.

He further told BT the agency has been receiving a “constant” stream of applications since its job posting for temperature screeners went up on JobStreet.com three days ago.

Job openings with hourly rates as high as S$48 have been circulating on WhatsApp as the demand for healthcare assistants continues to rise.

This climate of urgent demand for healthcare assistants has also given rise to mischief, as BT noted "misrepresented" mass recruitment messages being circulated. A Raffles Medical spokesperson clarified in an email that the circulated rates “have been changed and misrepresented by others” when forwarded, and that the accurate hourly pay is S$12 for day shift and S$16 for night shift (after 8pm).

These false rates circulated were at S$33 per hour for a three-month contract, or S$48 per hour for a six-month contract, to carry out temperature screening and “labour intensive push and carry” work at Changi Airport.

The market rate ranges from S$9 to S$16, as seen on the various job portals.

While postings for healthcare assistants on FastJobs have received “a decent number of applications on par with other jobs”, Miss Lim reckons it will be challenging to fill these roles.

“The hiring volume appears to be very big. (Recruiters are) asking for immediate start dates, at about the same pay range as other temporary jobs,” Miss Lim told BT.

On Jobstreet.com, more than 12 new job postings for temperature screening assistants have surfaced since Jan 24.

The death toll in China has risen to 132 as a result of the coronavirus that originated from Wuhan. More than 1,459 new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,974 in China.

Singapore has confirmed seven cases so far. The virus has spread to more than a dozen countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.

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