Coronavirus: Temasek Foundation donates hand sanitisers to 400 nursing homes and senior care centres

Temasek Foundation chairman Richard Magnus distributing hand sanitiser to Mr Tan Joo Huat and residents at Sree Narayana Nursing Home, on March 13, 2020. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Sree Narayana Mission's 90-year-old resident Lall Singh has kept to a cleaning regime since he was a child, so the advice to regularly wash hands in the light of the coronavirus outbreak is not difficult to heed.

But from Friday (March 13), residents like Mr Singh and care workers of around 400 nursing homes and senior care centres here will be helped by hand sanitiser donated by the Temasek Foundation.

"I have always had the habit of washing my hands before and after meals, so I'm not really worried about the virus situation as I have done my part in keeping clean," said Mr Singh, a retired major with the Singapore Armed Forces.

He added that the hand sanitiser given to him will supplement his current hygiene practices.

Fellow resident Tan Joo Huat, 50, said there are daily reminders at the home to ensure that residents wash their hands thoroughly and frequently.

The donation of hand sanitiser is part of Temasek Foundation's "Stay Prepared" initiative, which is aimed at enhancing the resilience of the local community.

Temasek Foundation chairman Richard Magnus said that the initiative targets vulnerable groups to help them "develop the habit of keeping themselves hygienically well and clean, particularly during this difficult period of the Covid-19 virus".

Sanitiser has also been provided to front-line employees in the transport sector, including taxi drivers and private-hire car drivers.

The distribution to the nursing homes and senior care centres started on Friday and is supported by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), which connects caregivers and seniors to a network of community care support and services.

Besides the Sree Narayana Mission, residents of the Jamiyah Singapore nursing home were among the first to receive the hand sanitiser.

It does not contain alcohol but an active ingredient known as benzalkonium chloride (BKC) at a concentration level of 0.054 per cent. Temasek Foundation said that according to the National Environment Agency, BKC concentrations of 0.05 per cent and higher can be effective in killing coronaviruses.

Experts say hand sanitisers should contain at least 60 per cent alcohol to be effective against most germs, but add that the best way to keep clean is to wash one's hands frequently with soap and water.

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