JOINT NEWS RELEASE BETWEEN MOE, MOM, PA AND NEA
Singapore, 24 September 2015 – The haze situation in Singapore has worsened today, with the 24-hour PSI crossing into the Very Unhealthy range since 10am this morning. Denser haze from Sumatra continues to be blown in by the prevailing southerly winds. As at 9pm today, the 24-hr PSI was 219-270, in the Very Unhealthy range, and the 1-hr PM2.5 was 221-321µg/m3. This is the highest 24-hr PSI recorded in 2015.
2 The persisting haze over central and southern Sumatra has continued spreading to the surrounding region, with the denser part of the haze observed to the south of Singapore (Please refer to Annex A for today’s satellite picture). For the rest of today, the current hazy conditions are expected to persist and could further deteriorate.
3 For tomorrow, the prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the south-southeast or south-southwest, and hazy conditions can still be expected. The 24-hr PSI for the next 24 hours is expected to be in the Very Unhealthy range, and the possibility of the air quality going into the Hazardous range cannot be excluded.
Ministry of Education (MOE) announces school closure for tomorrow
4 Following the above forecast, the Ministry of Education (MOE), in consultation with the Ministry of Health (MOH), has made the decision to close all primary and secondary schools on Friday, 25 September. Lessons will be suspended.
5 MOE Kindergartens, as well as special education schools that take reference from and are guided by measures taken by our primary and secondary schools, will also be closed. Schools are already reaching out to parents to inform them of the closure of schools via phone or SMS. Parents who are unable to make alternative care arrangements may continue to send their children to MOE kindergartens, primary, secondary and special education schools and teachers will supervise them. School-based care centres will also remain open for their existing students.
6 The Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Level music and higher music practical examinations scheduled for tomorrow will also be rescheduled to Tuesday, 29 September, 8am. School candidates will be informed through their schools.
7 All Junior Colleges, Centralised Institute and Post-Education Institutes (PSEIs), namely the Autonomous Universities, Polytechnics and ITEs, will remain open.
8 All lessons and programmes in child care centres and kindergartens will be scaled down. Parents of pre-school children may wish to take precautionary measures by keeping your child at home on 25 September 2015. Nevertheless, all child care centres and kindergartens will remain open to provide custodial care for parents who do not have alternative care arrangements.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reiterates no national shut-down of workplaces
9 During this period, employers should not compromise on the health and safety of their employees as they continue functioning. This is especially so for those involved in outdoor work.
10 Risk mitigating measures should be adopted to make work less strenuous, for example with the use of mechanical aids. Employers can also rotate jobs, schedule more rest breaks for employees performing outdoor work.
11 In addition, visibility factors should be taken into account to ensure that safety of employees is not compromised. For example, risk assessments should be conducted for outdoor lifting activities.
People’s Association (PA) to distribute masks to vulnerable and needy
12 The People’s Association (PA) grassroots organisations will start distributing N95 masks tomorrow from 10am at all 108 Community Clubs island-wide. These masks will be given to vulnerable and needy Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents with blue CHAS card or Pioneer Generation card, as well as ComCare recipients above 62 or with longer term medical issues. PA Grassroots volunteers will also conduct house visits to residents who are unable to come to the CCs on their own.
13 Given the air quality forecast for the next 24 hours, healthy persons should minimise outdoor activity. The elderly, pregnant women and children should avoid outdoor activity, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should also avoid outdoor activity. Persons who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.
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