SINGAPORE – Cleaner Lim Kim Chong, 56, was infected with the coronavirus in April 2020 when Cochrane Lodge 1 dormitory, where he worked at, was declared a Covid-19 cluster.
Quarantined in an isolation facility in Pasir Ris for over a month, he tapped a Covid-19 relief scheme for frontline workers who contracted the virus at work and got $3,000 in aid.
Mr Lim is among close to 30,000 people who have received help from the Courage Fund, which disbursed about $9.9 million to those affected by the virus, including healthcare and other frontline workers, as well as lower-income households.
The fund was closed on Tuesday (May 24) as Singapore began easing Covid-19 measures from end-April.
Mr Lim recounted his time cleaning the dormitory toilets in 2020, saying: “When I saw many workers infected, I was a little scared.”
Cases among workers staying in dormitories surged from 31 in April 2020 to more than 15,000 the following month, and then to 33,000 in June that year.
“When I caught it, I just thought, ‘What to do? No choice’,” he said.
He was more afraid of passing the infection to his mother, who is in her 80s and lives with him in a three-room flat in Ang Mo Kio.
Mr Lim, who is not married, added: “My mum was worried about me when I was in quarantine. We talked on the phone and she would ask me when I could go home.”
He applied for a Covid-19 relief scheme under the Courage Fund after his company told him about it.
Mr Lim, who was supporting his mother on a monthly salary of $1,400, used the $3,000 aid to defray household expenses on food, groceries, shampoo as well as phone and utility bills.
He also bought an accident insurance policy.
“I thought, after getting Covid-19, that it is important to protect myself if anything happens, like a fall,” he said. “The fund helped support our expenses.”