Is MOH on-top of its social media game in face of Omicron wave?
On 6 February, the Ministry of Health (MOH) published an info graphic on Facebook advising the public about what to do in the face of Omicron wave in the community. The post by MOH went viral with about 7,500 shares and almost 250 comments.
The post by MOH comes on the heels of news reporting general practitioners (GPs) are seeing an uptick in Covid-19 patients requesting medical certificates (MCs) to cover their absence from work, despite official guidelines indicating there being no need for one.
Facebook users have made hundreds of comments and have asked many questions to MOH on the topic. More than a week later, MOH has not responded to any of the queries and questions by the public.
The post by MOH said: “With an Omicron wave in the community, a surge of infections is expected. But fret not if you are fully vaccinated and boosted! If you do get infected, follow (protocol 2). High-risk individuals should still see a doctor even if they are feeling well.”
Protocol 2 advises that those infected with Covid-19 but are low-risk and have no (or mild) symptoms can recover at home. It said that there was no need to see a doctor or to get an MC, and that the employer (or school) will accept the patient’s ART result as proof of vaccination.
In the face of an omicron wave, MOH in its infographic asked its readers to preserve the healthcare capacity for those that need it most – the high-risk, acutely unwell and the elderly.
Some pointed out to MOH that “not many know whether they are high or low risk”. One freelancer said that even he was asked to take an MC by his employer.
Some commenters spoke for employers. One asked who is going to pay the employer if all its staff tested positive and stayed home for 5 – 10 days? He asked if the ART tests are tamper proof.
Some commenters pointed out that they seek MCs because “no employee wants to go for no pay leave. It’s about getting paid”. They asked MOH to “educate the employees first”.
“How do you know the employer will accept it? Feedback has been that people are going to clinics for proof (Mc, all clear note) not treatment, because employers don’t believe them.”
Most of the comments make for an interesting read. There is a lot of frustration but also many sensible comments about why ART positive patients still visit a GP. Some suggested that MOH is not on top of its social media in the face of the Omicron wave.
The comments from the public seem to indicate that there are two acute issues: Employees whose employers require a memo or verification before granting sick leave, return to work; and those who need to travel and whose PCRs in Singapore or in the countries they travel to might still be positive, thus causing needless inconvenience and confusion.