SINGAPORE - All traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) medical halls will be allowed to sell retail products from Tuesday (May 12), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced on Friday (May 8).
This is in addition to the 130 TCM medical halls attached to registered TCM practitioners that were previously allowed to open on May 5 to sell retail products, provide consultation and herbal dispensary services.
"This will provide more convenience, especially for our seniors," said Mr Gan.
The ministry had received feedback from seniors that it was too far to travel to these few medical halls to buy medicine, Mr Gan said, during a press conference held by members of the multi-ministry task force set up to combat the spread of the virus.
He added that he had promised Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah that he would look into the matter. Ms Lee (Nee Soon GRC) had asked in Parliament on Monday whether the reopening of TCM shops could be prioritised.
However, Mr Gan stressed that the medical halls must put in place the necessary safe management measures before commencing operations, particularly as they serve many seniors.
He added: "Let us work together to keep our seniors safe. Let us keep up our good habits, such as safe distancing, personal hygiene and wearing of masks.
"Avoid interacting with seniors if you are unwell. Together, we can protect them from the infection."
Customers rushed to receive acupuncture treatments at TCM clinics on Tuesday (May 5), the first day such treatments were allowed to resume since the start of circuit breaker measures on April 7.
Since the introduction of circuit breaker measures, TCM clinics had been allowed only to provide consultation and dispense herbal medicine to their patients.
Services like cupping, guasha and tui na are still not allowed.