The Manpower Ministry last night said a popular influencer’s online rant that her family’s domestic worker was prematurely released from quarantine despite having COVID-19 “inaccurate.”
After DJ Jade Rasif raised doubts about Singapore’s stringent health controls, the ministry said in a statement that the Indonesian domestic worker was never infectious and was only recalled for a second round of testing out of an abundance of caution.
Rather than mistakenly releasing her, the ministry said the unnamed helper arrived in Singapore after fully recovering from the disease and at no point posed any risk to the Rasif household. The ministry pointed out that the maid, who arrived April 11, was quarantined three days before being released to her employer’s home and recalled for another test two weeks later as a “precaution.”
“We are sorry to hear about the experience of Ms Jade Rasif and her family,” the ministry said. “The precautionary testing of the migrant domestic worker (MDW) employed by her family was for their safety, and the MDW has been assessed to be free from current COVID infection and had not posed a risk to the employer’s family.”
It said the decision was made April 30 to retest the worker due to “the worsening COVID-19 situation and new understanding of the infectiousness of variants of concern in the region.”
Mutations of the original coronavirus that are much more easily transmitted have been spreading worldwide amid slow vaccination campaigns.
“So although the MDW is recovered from an old infection and at low risk of reinfection, we wanted to be sure,” it added.
Rasif, who has nearly 400,000 followers on Instagram, had suggested that mistakes had been made in what she advertised online as a story of her “major covid scare.” In several Sunday posts, she provoked concerns and questions about the government’s handling of imported infections.
She also said the maid was required to spend three weeks in quarantine after being recalled, although the ministry said that the maid was discharged on May 9, days after it retested the worker. The Manpower Ministry also refuted Rasif’s allegations that she was questioned by the police for possibly violating a quarantine order.
In response, Rasif stuck to her story, saying online that she received two calls from the police regarding possible quarantine violation and a “movement order” proving she’s right about the maid’s quarantine dates.
Rasif has not responded to messages seeking comment Monday and today.
The 27-year-old health care volunteer, who was vaccinated in January, also sought clarification from the ministry on why her maid was not added to the daily COVID-19 count even though it had included non-infectious cases in the past, such as a Filipino who tested negative for COVID-19 upon arriving by sea on March 24 but became positive weeks later due to virus load from an earlier infection. The ministry said yesterday that only “active COVID-19 infections” would be designated a case number.
“To be honest, admitting a mistake was made is not an easy thing to do. Recalling the workers that didn’t serve [stay-home notice] was an insane effort and feat and I commend MOM for being brave and doing so,” Rasif said. “I have nothing but love in my heart for frontliners, and this really blew up from a simple story time session into such a big issue.”
“It was never my intention to point the finger, and I never ever mentioned ANY government agency in my original post,” she added.
Since May 7, Singapore has stopped approving entry to work pass holders, including domestic workers, from high-risk countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.
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This article, Manpower Ministry refutes DJ Jade Rasif’s ‘inaccurate’ maid story, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.