Curbs on hospital and residential care home visits as Covid-19 cases rise: MOH

The move is to protect healthcare workers and the vulnerable as the number of Covid-19 cases rise in Singapore. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - There will be limits on the number of visitors at all hospital wards and residential care homes for a month starting Thursday (July 7).

The move is to protect healthcare workers and the vulnerable as the number of Covid-19 cases rise in Singapore, the Health Ministry (MOH) said.

In a statement on Tuesday (July 5), MOH said the adjustment to visitor numbers will take place over a period of four weeks until Aug 3.

All patients will be allowed two pre-designated visitors for the duration of their admission, and only one visitor may be allowed at the bedside at any one time.

Critically ill patients will be allowed up to five pre-designated visitors, and two visitors may be allowed at the bedside at any one time, MOH said.

The visit duration will be limited to 30 minutes. In exceptional situations, such as for critically ill patients, paediatric patients, 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, it added.

All visitors are to ensure that they are well and are strongly encouraged to test themselves with an antigen rapid test or ART on the day of the visit.

Hospitals have the discretion to impose stricter visitor limits or testing requirements for visitors of 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 in homes, all residents will be allowed up to four pre-designated visitors, and only one visitor may visit at a  time, and limited to 30 minutes. 

Visitors should continue to schedule visits with the home ahead of time.

All visitors are to ensure they are well, and strongly encouraged to test themselves with an ART on the day of the visit at the home, MOH said.

Visitors should adhere to prevailing safe management measures within the homes. This includes remaining within the designated visitor areas, outside of the wards, MOH said.

Visits may also have to be suspended if a home is managing active Covid-19 cases, MOH said. 

All visitors must wear face masks with good filtration capability at all times in the hospitals and homes, MOH said. These include surgical masks and reusable masks that are made of two layers of fabric.

Everyone is encouraged to test and isolate themselves if unwell, and to seek medical care should their conditions worsen.

They should seek medical treatment at a hospital’s emergency department only for serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, breathlessness and uncontrollable bleeding, MOH said. 

“This allows those with severe illness in need of emergency care to be attended to quickly and helps to preserve our hospital capacity for those who truly need acute hospital care,” the ministry added.

MOH will review and calibrate these measures regularly in line with the evolving situation, it added.

There were 12,784 new Covid-19 cases recorded in Singapore on Tuesday (July 5), about double the 5,946 cases on Monday.

It also exceeded the 11,504 cases recorded last Tuesday (June 28), which had been the highest daily number of infections since March 22, when it was over 13,000.

Case numbers on Tuesdays tend to be higher compared with the rest of the week as they reflect the spike in infections after the weekend when more people are out in various social settings.

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