SINGAPORE: Activities for seniors by public agencies will be suspended for another 14 days to safeguard their well-being amid the COVID-19 situation in Singapore, the Ministry of Health said on Friday (Mar 20).
MOH announced stricter safe distancing measures on Friday, including the extended suspension of activities for seniors, to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
"A particular group that we are concerned about is our seniors, including myself. We know that seniors, particularly those with underlying conditions, have a higher risk of (contracting) severe COVID-19," Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told a press conference.
"It is therefore important that we take extra precautions to safeguard the well-being of our seniors."
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Since Mar 11, all activities aimed at seniors at community clubs, residents' committees, Senior Activity Centres, Active Ageing Hubs, CREST centres, Health Promotion Board and ActiveSG sport centres have been suspended for two weeks, until Mar 24.
National Silver Academy courses and volunteer programmes by the Council for Third Age have also been suspended for that same period.
"To continue to safeguard our seniors' well-being in the coming weeks, the suspension of the above activities will be extended for another 14 days, until Apr 7," MOH said.
Organisers of activities that involve physical interaction between seniors should also temporarily stop their activities from Mar 22 to Apr 7, the health ministry said.
"These include senior-centric courses, activities and interest groups, as well as events, performances, and other gatherings targeted at seniors," added MOH.
Organisers should put in extra precautions in preparing for when these activities resume after Apr 7.
"We encourage seniors to continue to be active during this period," said the health ministry.
Activities that do not require close contact between between seniors - such as activities on online platforms - are encouraged.
AVOID CROWDED AREAS
Seniors are also advised to avoid crowded areas "as far as possible", MOH said.
They should remain vigilant in maintaining good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently and avoid touching their face and eyes.
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Those who feel unwell should see a doctor.
"Anyone interacting with seniors should also take extra care with personal hygiene. They should avoid interacting with seniors when they are unwell," MOH added.
According to the World Health Organization, seniors or those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of "severe COVID-19 infection".
"Not everyone is at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 ... but each of us have a role to play to contain and to minimise the transmission of COVID-19 in Singapore," Mr Gan added.
"Through our collective effort, we have the power to flatten the curve and help to protect the more vulnerable segments of our society, such as our seniors, and to help our healthcare workers to do their job better."