Singapore

Enough capacity to meet healthcare needs of Covid-19 patients: Gan

Singapore will ensure it has the capacity to meet the healthcare needs of Covid-19 patients as well as those with other ailments, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

He added that the country has invested significantly to make sure it can manage infectious disease outbreaks, highlighting the new National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Novena.

The 330-bed centre was purpose-built with spare capacity and can be increased to more than 500 beds if necessary, Mr Gan said.

But he added that if more large clusters emerge, it will be difficult to effectively contain them and healthcare resources will be stretched.

"While we still have sufficient capacity in our healthcare system today, we cannot be complacent and we need to preserve our buffer capacity," he said.

In his ministerial statement, Mr Gan noted that at the start of the outbreak, Singapore took the conservative approach of admitting all Covid-19 cases, regardless of severity, until they tested negative twice over 24 hours.

But now, it is clear that about 80 per cent of cases are mild or moderate, with many hospitalised cases experiencing mild symptoms similar to the flu.

"They only require limited medical care, and what we need really are isolation facilities to prevent them from infecting others, until they are free of the virus," he said.

This is why the Government has started tapping private hospitals and setting up community care facilities.

Concord International Hospital along Adam Road started accepting well and stable Covid-19 patients last Friday, and Mount Elizabeth Hospital saw its first such patient on Monday.

The Government has also converted some government quarantine facilities, starting with D'Resort in Pasir Ris which has a maximum capacity of about 500, for this purpose.

Singapore residents and long-term pass holders transferred to these facilities will continue to get free testing and treatment, except those who travelled overseas despite the travel advisory and contracted the infection while abroad.

They will continue to be quarantined and closely monitored, Mr Gan said, so there is no risk of the general public in the community being exposed to these cases while they are at these facilities.

coronavirus