SINGAPORE – Forty-three taxi and private-hire car drivers have been diagnosed with Covid-19 as at last month.
In six instances, the drivers could have infected their household members, said Transport Minister S. Iswaran on Monday (July 5).
Meanwhile, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that about 92 per cent (48,846 of 53,268) active private-hire car and taxi drivers have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. A total of 86 per cent of drivers (46,054 of 53,268) have received both doses.
The ministers disclosed the figures in written replies to questions that were raised in Parliament by MPs on Monday.
Mr Iswaran told Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) that the infected drivers make up fewer than 0.1 per cent of active private-hire car and taxi drivers.
He said the Transport Ministry did not have specific data requested by Dr Tan – on how much time infected drivers have to take off work and their income loss.
“These outcomes would vary significantly across individuals, and would depend on factors such as individuals’ physical health, working hours, vehicle type and ridership demand, which in turn is affected by prevailing safe management measures.”
He added that drivers who contract Covid-19 in the course of work get financial support, such as additional rental waivers and allowances from the respective drivers’ association and operators.
Drivers who contract Covid-19 while serving in situations of increased Covid-19 risk can also apply for a one-time relief of $3,000. This is disbursed through The Courage Fund administered by the National Council of Social Service, Mr Iswaran said.
He told Ms Ng Ling Ling (Ang Mo Kio GRC) that the drivers are front-line workers who play an important role in ferrying essential workers and Singaporeans daily.
“Our first priority is to protect them in the course of duty,” said Mr Iswaran.
“This is why taxi and private-hire car drivers who depend on driving for their livelihoods were prioritised to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.”
He said that operators have reminded their drivers to take additional precautions to protect their health and safety.
These precautions include cleaning and disinfecting their vehicles, not using the recirculation mode of their vehicle’s air-conditioning system, and winding down the windows after every trip to improve ventilation.
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