SINGAPORE - The Covid-19 Home Recovery Programme (HRP) will be the default care arrangement for everyone, except certain groups, from Sunday (Oct 10).
The following groups of people will be excluded from this arrangement:
1. Partially or unvaccinated individuals aged 50 and older;
2. Vaccinated people aged 80 and older;
3. Children below one year old, and those aged one to four years who have been assessed to be clinically unsuitable for home recovery.
This was announced by the multi ministry task force tackling Covid-19 on Saturday (Oct 9) at a virtual press conference.
Since the start of HRP on Sept 15, more than 19,000 individuals have been recovering at home. More than 8,000 have fully recovered.
"As our population has become more familiar with the HRP, and our healthcare professionals have become more experienced in handling the medical needs of those on HRP, it is timely to extend the HRP to a wider range of individuals, especially for those with mild or no symptoms," the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
This will allow the ministry to better prioritise resources to take care of the severely ill or vulnerable patients, without compromising care to those who may be younger with milder or no symptoms.
The telemedicine team has also been bolstered so that it can attend to those who need medical attention, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said.
He added that the HRP team has been further beefed up.
“Today, other than the minority whose contact numbers are inaccurate, we are able to call all infected persons and onboard them within the day. As for incoming calls, we can now attend to the great majority of callers,” Mr Ong said.
In an update on the local Covid-19 situation, MOH said the vast majority (98.8 per cent) of cases continue to have mild or no symptoms.
But the number of people requiring intensive care is continuing to rise at the same rate as Singapore's overall case numbers, albeit with a lag.
The Republic had 51 new cases in the intensive care unit over the past two weeks, compared with 32 over the preceding two weeks.
As such, home recovery will also include unvaccinated people aged 12 to 49, as the severity of illness for such individuals is low.
Based on the clinical observations of vaccinated infected people aged 70 to 79, and the fall risks associated with such elderly in an unfamiliar environment, it will be safer for them to recover in the familiar surroundings of their homes, MOH said.
However, as a precaution, individuals from both groups would be assigned to a healthcare provider and should track their health closely.
This includes monitoring their oxygen level during the isolation period and consulting the healthcare provider early should there be any significant deterioration in their health, MOH added.
Home recovery will also include children aged five to 11 years old, as MOH has found that Covid-19 is not a serious illness for the vast majority.
Parents have often requested that children be allowed to recover at home, where there are caregivers from the family.
For children aged one to four, MOH will continue to extend home recovery to them, provided that they are first clinically assessed at the hospitals to be suitable.
Those on HRP will continue to have access to medical support round the clock.
This may be available through existing telemedicine providers and a strengthened network of medical support, with public health preparedness clinics or polyclinics that have come on board the programme.
For non-medical assistance, individuals can reach out to the Home Recovery Buddy Hotline on 6874 4939.