Friendly SDAs, Alicia Chan (back, in green) and Pearle Ang (in yellow) from Human Resources keeping watch at lift lobby A.


We were introduced to the buzzword “circuit breaker” when the Singapore government announced the implementation of more stringent safe distancing measures on 7 April 2020 in view of a spike in unlinked cases in the community in March.

To ensure the safety of our staff, NHCS formed our very own Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDA) Programme in mid-April with the aim to remind our staff to observe the measures and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Donning a red ambassador badge, these 12 staff volunteers automatically assume the SDA role; walking our premises and reminding fellow colleagues to observe safe distancing measures.

Caring for fellow colleagues from a ‘Safe Distance’

Split into different teams and time slots, our SDAs begin their shifts early in the morning before most of us start work, patrolling high traffic areas such as the lift lobbies.


Friendly SDAs, Alicia Chan (back, in green) and Pearle Ang (in yellow) from Human Resources keeping watch at lift lobby A.

Continuing their duty through the busy lunch hour, SDAs also pop into staff pantries and offices on various levels to remind colleagues to keep to safe distancing rules even while having their meals - “Hello, handsome/pretty, please remember to wear your mask if you are done eating,” - one of our SDAs would often say cheerily as she made her rounds at the office pantries.

Distance makes everyone stronger

In the initial period, SDAs helped to highlight areas of improvement for better safe distancing around our premise especially in staff areas such as clear demarcations for seating areas in staff pantries and meeting rooms. When they notice colleagues from other institutions entering NHCS, SDAs would also remind them on the measures too.

SDAs stationed outside Pharmacy to facilitate safe distancing for patients.

Besides making their rounds within the NHCS building, appointed SDAs will also walkabout at our NHCS inpatient ward areas in SGH to remind on safe distancing measures. During the peak periods at level 2 Pharmacy, a dedicated group of SDAs will help out outside the pharmacy to help facilitate safe distancing among patients.

The fight goes on

The role of a SDA may seem easy but not without challenges. “There were incidences where some staff felt upset because we interrupted or disturbed their break when we reminded on the need to mask up,” SDA Pearle Ang from Human Resources shared. “We hope to have our peers and colleagues’ understanding that we are all doing our part to remind one another. This is for the safety of everyone.”

Our SDAs who are scheduled to walkabout during lunch period would usually skip their lunch break or could only have their meals after completing their rounds for the day. “We really appreciate the sacrifice the SDAs made in order to carry out their duties. It is encouraging to know that among us, there are always caring colleagues around to help each other to get lunch,” said Yvonne Then, Chief Communications Officer who helped set up the programme.

(L-R): SDAs Lau Qian Yu from Corporate Development and Tan Geok Mui from iHIS.

With the constant reminders and the tightened CB measures in the past weeks, our SDAs are happy to see a positive change in our staff’s attitude and behaviour, “Now, our staff are more mindful about safe distancing. When they see us from afar, they’ll automatically walk further apart from their companions.”

Our SDAs would like to remind all colleagues to keep in mind these measures:

  • Keep a safe distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and your colleagues, particularly during meal and rest times
  • Wear your mask at all times, unless you are eating or drinking
  • Practice good personal and hand hygiene