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SAF handing over Covid-19 home recovery scheme to MOH as situation has stabilised: Ng Eng Hen

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is handing over the management of the Covid-19 home recovery programme to the Ministry of Health (MOH), given that the situation is now stable, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Wednesday (Nov 24).

The Singapore Armed Forces deployed more than 450 crew from the army, navy and air force to help with the Covid-19 home recovery programme.

The Singapore Armed Forces deployed more than 450 crew from the army, navy and air force to help with the Covid-19 home recovery programme.

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is handing over the management of the Covid-19 home recovery programme to the Ministry of Health (MOH), given that the situation is now stable, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Wednesday (Nov 24). 

Dr Ng wrote in a Facebook post that a team of SAF advisers would, however, continue to remain embedded with the programme to ensure a smooth transition. 

“Now that the home recovery programme is stable, it's a good time to hand (it) over to the Ministry of Health,” he said.

The authorities announced in September that SAF crew as well as volunteers from the People’s Association (PA) would be roped in to speed up processes and clear a backlog that had accumulated for patients recovering from the coronavirus at home. 

This was after some patients on the programme expressed frustration at the lack of communication from MOH in the midst of a surge in Covid-19 cases in the community. 

Dr Ng said that the SAF deployed more than 450 crew from the army, navy and air force to help with the programme.

Full-time national servicemen served as home recovery buddies by being patients’ first point of contact and assisting them with administrative procedures. 

The air force’s innovation office was also deployed to develop digital solutions to streamline work processes and help manage data. 

Dr Ng said that SAF commanders, as well as crew members managing the home recovery programme since September, performed well. 

“A big thank-you to our servicemen who stepped up when duty called and for making a positive difference in helping residents recover safely at home,” he added. 

“This prevented our healthcare system from being overwhelmed.” 

In response to TODAY's queries, PA said that it would continue to assist MOH in reaching out to residents on the home recovery programme.

It added that as of Tuesday, 1,600 PA staff members and volunteers distributed 77,100 WeCare Packs to households with residents on the programme, and supported 850 requests for meals and groceries.

Contactless distribution of the packs, which contain items such as Covid-19 antigen-rapid-test kits, disposable masks, sanitising wipes and vitamin C tablets, started on Oct 1. 

"Residents who need additional assistance may also seek help from PA staff and volunteers," it added.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung noted last Saturday that the total number of Covid-19 patients had dropped from a peak of 26,386 on Oct 29 to slightly above 15,000. 

Most of these patients are recovering at home.

The Government put an end to Covid-19 stabilisation measures on Sunday and eased restrictions on Monday to allow groups of up to five to dine out and gather socially. 

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home recovery Covid-19 coronavirus SAF Ng Eng Hen

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