No visitors at hospital wards for four weeks amid surge in local cases
New rule is to reduce Covid-19 spread and ease strain on bed capacity
From tomorrow, no visitors will be allowed at all hospital wards in Singapore for four weeks until Oct 23 amid a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the community.
There have also been more cases detected among hospital staff, patients and visitors, leading to ward closures and staff quarantine. This has put a strain on hospital bed capacity and staffing at a time when bed numbers are being ramped up to care for hospitalised patients, the Health Ministry (MOH) said.
Those visiting selected groups of patients may be allowed to enter hospital wards but the final decision will be made by the hospital after assessing each case, MOH said.
Patients who are in critical condition, paediatric patients, those giving birth or post-partum mothers, and patients requiring additional care support from caregivers are among those who may be allowed to have visitors, it added.
Also starting tomorrow, some groups of higher-risk patients must undergo mandatory antigen rapid testing (ART) in the emergency departments or 24-hour emergency clinics, regardless of vaccination status.
The total number of new cases yesterday was 1,457. The number of infections here has doubled twice since Aug 23 and could double three more times before falling and stabilising.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday the Government is closely monitoring hospital capacity but may have to impose more restrictions if the Covid-19 situation worsens. In an interview with Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao, he said Singapore already has in place a suite of measures, and to go further would be a "last resort".
The NTUC Health Nursing Home in Tampines will open today - the first in a new category of stepped-up community care facilities for Covid-19 patients who are mostly well, but have underlying health conditions that require close monitoring. It is part of efforts to ease the load on hospital beds.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post yesterday that Singapore is doing its best to scale up Covid-19 operations to ensure all patients are well-cared for amid growing case numbers. He added that some people had written to him to express their frustrations and ask why MOH had taken a long time to get in touch with them.
Mr Lee said: "If we all work together, get vaccinated, and wear our masks properly, we can slow down the current wave and get through safely without overwhelming our hospitals or suffering unnecessary casualties."