SINGAPORE, Oct 22 — Visitors will not be allowed at hospital wards and residential care homes for another month to protect healthcare capacity and vulnerable seniors during a period when Covid-19 community cases are on the rise, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Oct 21).
The ministry had earlier announced in September that there would be no visitors to hospitals until Oct 23, as well as to residential care homes till Oct 24. This has been extended to Nov 21.
These measures will also apply to all public acute hospitals, community hospitals and private hospitals.
MOH said that the rise in Covid-19 cases in the community over the past two weeks has increased Covid-19 admissions to the hospitals, and that there were also several new Covid-19 clusters amongst patients and residents in hospitals and residential care homes.
In addition to extending the ban on visitors, booster vaccination jabs have been ramped up for healthcare workers and seniors, including those residing in residential care homes, to mitigate the risk of large outbreaks in these settings, said MOH.
The ministry added that to ensure that patients and residents remain connected with their loved ones, the hospitals and residential care homes will continue to support alternative methods of communication such as through telephone or video calls.
Visitors will also continue to be allowed for some patient groups on a case-by-case basis, as assessed by the hospital. They include:
- Patients who are in critical condition
- Paediatric patients
- Birthing or post-partum mothers
- Patients requiring additional care support from caregivers. Such caregivers include those providing assistance to inpatients who have mental incapacities, or family members who are undergoing caregiver training to better care for their loved ones after hospital discharge.
Patients who are in critical condition may be allowed up to five pre-designated visitors, with a maximum of two visitors at the patient’s bedside at any one time, while the other patient groups above would be allowed only one pre-designated visitor, with one visit per day.
All visitors to hospital wards during this period will need to produce a valid negative antigen rapid test result obtained within 24 hours prior to each visit, and the test has to be administered or supervised by an MOH-approved Covid-19 test providers, which includes tests performed at Quick Test Centres.
The requirement applies to all visitors regardless of vaccination status, except for those who have recovered from Covid-19 and are able to present a valid Pre-Event Test exemption notice.
Visitors are also reminded to be masked at all times and are not allowed to eat or drink in the wards, sit on the patients’ beds, or use the patients’ toilet.
For residential care homes, they will have the discretion to allow visits for exceptional cases, such as when the resident is critically ill.
“These visitors would be subject to visitor management measures as advised by the residential care homes,” said MOH.
MOH said that it will continue to review and calibrate the measures regularly “in line with the evolving situation”.
“We seek the understanding and cooperation of patients/residents, and their family members and loved ones as we work to safeguard them and the staff to reduce the risk of Covid-19 importation and transmission in our healthcare institutions and residential care facilities,” it said. — TODAY