Hospitals to implement Covid-19 vaccination-differentiated rules for visitors to wards from Aug 19

The vaccination-differentiated measures are put in place to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Visits to hospital wards will be allowed to resume from Thursday (Aug 19), but with vaccination-differentiated measures in place to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Visitors who are fully vaccinated, or recovered from Covid-19 with a valid pre-event test exemption notice, will be able to enter wards without needing to take a pre-visit Covid-19 test, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Those who are partially vaccinated will have to show a negative pre-visit Covid-19 test result from Oct 1 before being allowed to visit the wards, as they may not have attained sufficient protection.

They will be exempted from this testing requirement from Thursday till Sept 30.

Unvaccinated visitors will have to show a negative Covid-19 test result from Thursday to enter hospital wards. This can be an antigen rapid test (ART) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test obtained within the last 24 hours.

The ministry had barred visits to hospitals from Aug 5 to 18, due to the worsening Covid-19 situation and clusters that emerged in Yishun Community Hospital and Changi General Hospital.

On Monday, it said all visitors can stay for only 30 minutes, regardless of vaccination status.

Each patient can register up to two visitors per admission and receive up to two visits each day, with only one visitor allowed at the bedside.

Patients who are very ill will be allowed five registered visitors, with two visitors allowed at the bedside, said MOH.

Three groups of patients - children or babies, mothers who are due to give birth or have delivered, and those who require additional care support from caregivers - may have visitors who can stay for longer than 30 minutes.

MOH said hospital staff can grant such exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

Visitors who are allowed to stay beyond 30 minutes will have to test negative for Covid-19, regardless of their vaccination status.

The ministry also said that from Sept 1, hospitals can help unvaccinated visitors make advance arrangements for pre-visit tests at quick test centres.

Visitors will need to pay for these tests.

Under "exceptional and time-sensitive situations", hospitals may exercise discretion to offer unvaccinated visitors ART testing on the spot on a case-by-case basis, MOH said.

These include visits to patients with sudden life-threatening conditions, unexpected child birth or delivery, as well as individuals or elderly people with severe physical limitations who are unable to go to pre-visit testing providers.

"Visitors who are unwell or symptomatic should not visit patients in hospital wards, regardless of their vaccination status," MOH added.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.