COVID-19 SPECIAL

Healthcare workers the most important resource in Covid-19 battle

Foreign workers undergoing medical examination at Toh Guan Dormitory yesterday. A medical reserve force stands ready to be activated to support healthcare workers, if needed.
Foreign workers undergoing medical examination at Toh Guan Dormitory yesterday. A medical reserve force stands ready to be activated to support healthcare workers, if needed.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Foreign workers undergoing medical examination at Toh Guan Dormitory yesterday. A medical reserve force stands ready to be activated to support healthcare workers, if needed.
HEALTH MINISTER GAN KIM YONG

Healthcare workers are the most important resource in the country's fight against Covid-19, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who paid tribute to them over the Labour Day weekend.

Mr Gan told The Sunday Times that healthcare staff have been working tirelessly to ensure patients - whether with Covid-19 or otherwise - are well taken care of.

"They have contributed their expertise and time in many areas, from the front line to the backend.

"I thank each and every one of them for their commitment and contribution."

While the healthcare system has been preparing to deal with new emerging infectious diseases, little was known about Covid-19 when it emerged, said Mr Gan, who is co-chairman of the multi-ministry task force for Covid-19.

As more facts about the virus were discovered, Singapore adjusted its strategy to slow down transmission, take care of patients and prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.

Public hospitals have expanded isolation ward capacity and intensive care units to prepare for a possible surge in cases.

They have also established partnerships with private sector healthcare providers to secure additional capacity and to help care for existing patients with chronic medical conditions, said Mr Gan.

Singapore has also beefed up manpower by mobilising "the entire healthcare workforce and beyond - whether public or private, in-service healthcare workers or volunteers" through the SG Healthcare Corps launched last month, he added.

Making up essentially a medical reserve force, about 3,000 current and former medical professionals have stepped up to be on standby, ready to be activated if confirmed virus cases shoot up.

"Our battle with Covid-19 is likely to be a long journey, and I am glad that Singaporeans have rallied to support our healthcare professionals," said Mr Gan.

WORKING TIRELESSLY

They have contributed their expertise and time in many areas, from the front line to the backend. I thank each and every one of them for their commitment and contribution.

HEALTH MINISTER GAN KIM YONG

"I am deeply appreciative of our healthcare workers, who have adapted to the rapid changes, and have risen to the challenges they face every day on the front line."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 03, 2020, with the headline 'Healthcare workers the most important resource in battle'. Subscribe