SINGAPORE — Visitors to all hospital wards in Singapore will be disallowed from Thursday (5 August) for two weeks following the detection of more COVID-19 cases in the community.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release on Wednesday said that this interim measure will be in place till 18 August, with some exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Patients whose conditions have turned very ill
Birthing or post-partum mothers;
Patients requiring additional care support from caregivers
For patients who are very ill, up to five pre-designated visitors may be registered, with a maximum of two at the patient’s bedside at any one time and they are only allowed to stay for a maximum of 30 minutes.
For the rest of the exceptions, only one person is allowed to visit for no more than 30 minutes per day.
Any visitor who requires to stay beyond 30 minutes, for reasons such as caregiver training, will only be allowed after the visitor test negative on a supervised antigen rapid test, where the validity of the result of this test is 24 hours.
The ministry added that all visitors to the hospitals must don face masks with good filtration capability at all times, such as reusable masks that are made of two layers of fabrics and surgical masks.
No drinking or eating is allowed in the inpatient wards and visitors must not use the patients’ toilets in the wards as well as avoid sitting on patients’ beds, the MOH said.
The ministry also noted that detection of COVID-19 cases within a hospital will lead to a ward closure, limiting movements of patients and staff in and out of the affected ward. Affected patients and staff will also be placed on quarantine.
"Such measures while necessary to control further transmission of the virus, will have an adverse impact on hospitals’ capacity in caring for patients by reducing the availability of hospital staff and bed capacities," added the MOH.
Separately, the ministry said hospital healthcare teams on COVID-19 vaccination will approach all unvaccinated patients – inpatient or outpatient – if clinically appropriate in an effort to get more people vaccinated.
Patients who receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination at the hospital should return to the same hospital for their second dose.
The MOH said it will review the above measures regularly. "We seek the understanding and cooperation of all Singaporeans as we make adjustments to protect our patients and hospitals during this transition period towards a COVID-resilient society," it added.
Singapore currently has 100 active COVID-19 clusters, two of which are at the Changi General Hospital – announced on Tuesday – and the Yishun Community Hospital. Both clusters are linked to three and four cases, respecitively.
Story to come.