Singapore GE2020: Healthcare system helped to keep Covid-19 fatality rate low, says Gan Kim Yong

Essential workers being screened for Covid-19 at the Regional Screening Centre at The Float @ Marina Bay on June 9, 2020. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Singapore's robust healthcare system and competent healthcare workers have helped to keep the country's Covid-19 fatality rate among the lowest in the world, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in an e-rally broadcast last night.

The rate now stands at less than 0.1 per cent, with 26 deaths out of 44,664 cases as of yesterday.

Mr Gan, leader of the People's Action Party (PAP) team that is contesting Chua Chu Kang GRC, also said that the Government has made healthcare more affordable for Singaporeans over the years through a variety of schemes.

These include MediShield Life, a scheme that provides lifelong universal coverage for large hospitalisation bills and costly outpatient treatments, as well as the Community Health Assist Scheme, which makes primary care at GPs and dental clinics more affordable.

A new scheme, CareShield Life, which provides lifetime cash payouts for those severely disabled in their old age, will also be rolled out by year end.

Mr Gan made these points in a broadcast on the Chua Chu Kang GRC Facebook page.

Others in the PAP team are incumbent Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Low Yen Ling, and new faces Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim and Don Wee.

Mr Gan also elaborated on key points he made earlier yesterday evening during the televised constituency political broadcast.

These include job creation and a sense of community in Chua Chu Kang.

Commending the residents for the way they came together during the Covid-19 outbreak, he said it was, as the Chinese saying goes, like "being in the same boat through wind and rain".

One instance he cited was the quick relocation of stallholders at Teck Whye Market during the circuit breaker period.

"We were concerned about the regular weekend crowd... (as) safe distancing was just impossible. So community leaders and volunteers came together for the good of the community and decided to relocate half of the wet market to the hard court at Block 146A," he said.

"Within hours, all the stallholders and residents swung into action and the relocation was done in one day, and the temporary site was up and ready for business."

Mr Gan also noted that the Government has spared no effort to save jobs during the pandemic, through four Budgets that will deliver almost $100 billion this financial year to help businesses, workers, communities and families cope with the fallout from the pandemic.

It has also set up the National Jobs Council, with the target of creating 100,000 jobs and training opportunities this year.

A new career centre, one of eight islandwide, will also be set up in Keat Hong in Chua Chu Kang GRC to help job seekers in the constituency find suitable career opportunities, the minister said.

Mr Gan has served as the anchor minister in the constituency since 2011, when Chua Chu Kang GRC was formed.

It has been contested at every general election since then, and in this year's election, it will see a face-off between the PAP and the Progress Singapore Party.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2020, with the headline S'pore healthcare system helped to keep Covid-19 fatality rate low, says Gan Kim Yong. Subscribe