PM Lee Hsien Loong, ministers thank healthcare workers for bearing brunt of pandemic

PM Lee assured healthcare workers that things would likely improve after the current surge peaks. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - With Singapore going through what may be the most difficult phase of its Covid-19 journey, healthcare workers have been put under great stress, acknowledged Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Oct 9).

Pledging full support for them as he gave updates about the Covid-19 situation here, he said: "We are doing all we can to protect you and the healthcare system as we go through this wave.

"If we don't protect you, you can't protect us. On behalf of all Singaporeans, I thank you all. We are with you, and will give you our fullest support."

A programme to offer healthcare workers booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine was rolled out on Saturday amid a recent surge in Covid-19 infections here that have put hospitals, nurses and doctors under strain.

In the past week alone, Singapore recorded more than 3,000 daily cases on four straight days.

PM Lee said: '"We must protect our healthcare system and workers at all costs, in order to get through the pandemic safely."

The ministers who co-chair the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic here also paid tribute to healthcare workers during a press conference on Saturday, noting that they have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong said the first two weeks of the stabilisation phase, which kicked in at the end of September, had slowed down the rate of transmission of Covid-19 and given a much needed breather to healthcare workers.

He thanked all front-liners in the hospitals and healthcare system, adding: "We truly appreciate your contributions, hard work, and sacrifices, and we will do everything we can to support you during this difficult time."

Restrictions on some activities were tightened at the end of September to slow down the increase in cases, so as to buy time to ramp up medical facilities and manpower to handle the outbreaks.

Healthcare professionals and laypeople registered with the Singapore Healthcare Corps, as well as inactive nurses registered with the Singapore Nursing Board have also have been called on by the Ministry of Health to bolster the healthcare workforce.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, another co-chairman of the task force, encouraged people to ease the load on healthcare workers, asking those who contract Covid-19 to recover at home and avoid going to the hospital unless they are seriously ill.

"Don't leave them to carry the burden as the last line of defence," he said.

He also urged people to cut down on social activities, get their booster shots, and encouraged seniors to get vaccinated.

Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong said healthcare and front-line workers, along with their families, have had a stressful time over the past 20 months, adding: "We deeply appreciate your efforts throughout this crisis."

PM Lee assured healthcare workers that things would likely improve after the current surge peaks.

"You have been fighting so hard, for so long. Now we are going through perhaps the most difficult phase of our journey. But it will not last indefinitely," he said.

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