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Singapore

Visiting curbs at hospitals, residential care homes to be extended 2 weeks due to COVID-19 situation

Visiting curbs at hospitals, residential care homes to be extended 2 weeks due to COVID-19 situation

View of Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore on Apr 30, 2021. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will extend current visiting restrictions at all hospital wards and residential care homes for two weeks until Nov 23.

This is to relieve pressure on hospitals and homes and to protect vulnerable patients and residents, said the ministry in a press release on Wednesday (Nov 9).

"While the daily number of local COVID-19 cases has fallen over the past weeks, our hospitals continue to be under stress with a significant number of COVID-19 patients still warded in hospitals," MOH added.

"Homes are also caring for an increased number of COVID-positive residents on-site compared to the previous months."

MOH had earlier announced a four-week tightening of visitor safe management measures from Oct 14 to Nov 10.

Since Oct 14, patients in hospitals have been allowed only two pre-designated visitors for the duration of their stays.

Only one of these visitors can be at a patient's bedside at any one time.

Critically ill patients are allowed up to five pre-designated visitors, with two visitors allowed bedside at any one point in time.

All visits are limited to 30 minutes.

In exceptional situations, such as for critically ill patients, paediatric patients, birthing or post-partum mothers and patients requiring additional care support, visitors may be allowed to stay beyond 30 minutes on a case-by-case basis at the hospitals' discretion.

Residents of care homes, meanwhile, are allowed up to four pre-designated visitors, and only one visitor may visit at any one time for a duration also limited to 30 minutes.

MOH said that residential care home visitors should continue to schedule their visits with the home ahead of time, while ensuring they adhere strictly to prevailing safe management measures within the homes. This includes remaining within designated visitor areas outside wards.

"We also seek the understanding of visitors that visits may have to be suspended if a home is managing active COVID-19 cases. Next-of-kin of residents may approach the home for further details," MOH added.

"Visitors to hospitals and homes are to ensure that they are well and are strongly encouraged to test themselves with an antigen rapid test (ART) kit on the day of the visit to their loved ones."

The ministry urged visitors to don face masks with good filtration capability at all times, with these including surgical masks and reusable masks made of two layers of fabric.

Hospitals and homes have the discretion to impose stricter visitor limits or testing requirements for visitors of vulnerable or unvaccinated patients, MOH added.

It said it will continue to review and calibrate measures regularly in line with the evolving COVID-19 situation.

"We seek the understanding and cooperation of patients, residents, and their family members and loved ones."

Source: CNA/cm(jo)

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