COVID-19: No guests on enlistment day for NS recruits

Incoming National Service recruits during their enlistment day. (PHOTO: Toh Ting Wei/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Guests will not be allowed on enlistment day at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) on Pulau Tekong, as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) announced several measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during basic military training.

In a video post put up on the Singapore Army Facebook page on Monday (30 March), BMTC commander Colonel Pang Lead Shuan said that it will not be inviting guests on enlistment day to avoid the presence of large crowds.

It has been a tradition for National Service (NS) enlistees’ families to be shown around the training centre and their children’s bunks, before they share a meal together at the cookhouse.

“It has been our practice to welcome enlistees' loved ones to BMTC on their enlistment day to share this significant milestone. Unfortunately, due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, we have to adjust our enlistment day process,” Pang said in the video post.

“These are difficult but necessary adjustments to safeguard the health and well-being of everyone.”

Safe distancing in every step

Enlistees will be administered in smaller groups, in order to reduce interaction and exposure. They will also observe safe distancing in every step of the process.

“They will maintain a safe distance from one another in the ferry and in the auditorium, during meal times at the cookhouse, and when they queue to draw their equipment,” Pang said.

BMTC has also enhances its hygiene and cleanliness measures throughout its schools, and its officers will be briefed to look out for their soldiers’ well-being.

Pang acknowledged that such measures might “cause inconvenience and even dilute the NS experience”, but insisted that they are critical to control the spread of COVID-19.

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