SINGAPORE - Hospitals here have tightened the visitor limit as a precautionary measure against the Wuhan coronavirus. Just two visitors per patient are allowed at any one time during visiting hours at hospital general wards.
A check with several public hospitals showed that the previous limit at the general wards was four.
The stricter two-visitor rule has been in place since the first day of the Chinese New Year, Jan 25. By then, the Ministry of Health had confirmed three cases of the infection here. There are now 13 cases, all of whom are Chinese nationals from China's Hubei province.
Public hospitals here with restrictions include the National University Hospital (NUH), the KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), Changi General Hospital (CGH), Alexandra Hospital.
Mount Elizabeth Hospital and the other hospitals under the Parkway Pantai group, as well as Raffles Hospital, have also set a two-visitor limit for patients. Previously, these private hospitals did not have a limit on the number of visitors to their general wards.
It is understood that the measure was a directive from the Health Ministry.
A KKH Facebook post said that the measure was taken to reduce patients' possible exposure to the novel coronavirus.
In addition, at least four hospitals are not allowing young children to visit patients as children have less immunity to infections.
TTSH is barring children under seven, while NUH and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will not allow those under 12 to visit, and Sengkang General Hospital those under 13.
SGH and CGH are also discouraging visitors from bringing along babies and children to wards.
Furthermore, the hospitals are understood to have barred visitors or caregivers with a travel history to mainland China in the past 14 days at the minimum from entering their patient care areas, including the emergency departments, wards and clinics.
Visitors are supposed to inform staff if they have a cough, fever or shortness of breath and have travelled to mainland China within the last 14 days.
Those who have been to a hospital in mainland China or had close contact with a case of 2019-nCoV infection also need to inform hospital staff.
NUH said in a Facebook post that people who have travelled to China in the last 30 days will not be allowed to enter all patient care areas.