SINGAPORE - From Monday (June 15), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) ambulance crew will be required to put on enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE) only when responding to Covid-19-related cases.
These are cases involving known Covid-19 patients, those under quarantine or stay-home notice, or those who fit the Health Ministry's criteria for suspected cases.
The revision comes in the light of the reduced number of Covid-19 cases in the community, SCDF said on Sunday (June 14).
SCDF chief medical officer Shalini Arulanandam said: "All crew will still continue to wear N95 masks and goggles at all times while on duty to provide adequate protection from potential droplet spread of Covid-19 through the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) when they perform procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and airway management.
"The revised requirements will also reduce the risk of heat fatigue for ambulance crew who have to spend long hours in outdoor environments."
Since Feb 7, when the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level was raised to orange, SCDF ambulance crew have been required to wear enhanced PPE when attending to all ambulance calls.
The enhanced PPE consists of an N95 mask, goggles and a full gown. Crew members with long hair are also required to wear a bouffant cap.
Other control measures such as strict hand hygiene and the decontamination of ambulances after conveying patients to hospitals will continue to be implemented to ensure the safety of SCDF ambulance personnel and patients, the force said.
SCDF added that it will continue to review and adjust PPE requirements for ambulance personnel as necessary.
Since Jan 22, SCDF emergency ambulances have taken 4,954 suspected Covid-19 patients to hospital. As of Friday, 58 of these suspected patients later tested positive for the virus.