MOH tightens safety measures for visitors to hospitals, care homes amid rise in Covid-19 cases
SINGAPORE — With a rising number of Covid-19 cases in the community, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will again tighten safety measures for visitors at all hospital wards and residential care homes from Thursday (July 7) for four weeks.
In a news release on Tuesday, MOH said that the tougher measures for in-person visits to the hospitals and residential care homes will last until Aug 3 in order to protect Singapore’s healthcare capacity as well as vulnerable patients and residents at care facilities.
Patients warded in hospitals will be allowed only two pre-designated visitors for the duration of their admission during this period. At any one time, only one visitor will be allowed at the patient’s bedside.
Critically ill patients, however, will be allowed up to five pre-designated visitors during their admission. Of these, two may be allowed at the bedside at any one point of time.
MOH added that these visits will be limited to 30 minutes.
“In exceptional situations, such as for critically ill patients, patients (who are children), birthing or post-partum mothers, and for patients requiring additional care support, visitors may be allowed to stay beyond 30 minutes on a case-by-case basis at the hospitals’ discretion,” the ministry said.
Visitors are to ensure they are well and are encouraged to test themselves with an antigen rapid test on the day of the visit. Hospitals have the discretion to impose stricter visitor limits or testing requirements for people visiting vulnerable or unvaccinated patients.
“Visitors are reminded not to eat or drink in the hospital wards, or use the toilets designated for patients in the wards. They should also avoid sitting on patients’ beds,” MOH said.
For in-person visits to residential care homes, the residents are allowed up to four pre-designated visitors. At any point of time, only one visitor will be allowed to visit for up to 30 minutes.
Similar to visits to hospitals, guests are to ensure they are well and are advised to test themselves with a rapid test on the day of their visit.
MOH noted that the visits to the care homes may be suspended if the facility is managing active Covid-19 cases.
All visitors must wear face masks with good filtration capability at all times in the hospitals and residential care homes.
MOH said that it will “review and calibrate these measures regularly in line with the evolving situation”.
“We seek the understanding and cooperation of patients, residents, their family members and loved ones as we work to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission in our healthcare institutions and residential care homes.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament that the current Covid-19 wave would not be as severe as the Omicron wave earlier this year due to "stronger immunity either through booster shots or recovery from infections".
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong warned that Singapore "must expect'' daily Covid-19 numbers to rise as the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus are more infectious and transmissible than previous ones.