Important to keep healthcare workers safe during outbreak, says President Halimah

(From left) Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens’ daycare centre executive Annie Heng and director of nursing Lee Geok Yian, and President Halimah Yacob interacting with a client under the Integrated Home and Day Care programme on March 12, 2020.
(From left) Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens’ daycare centre executive Annie Heng and director of nursing Lee Geok Yian, and President Halimah Yacob interacting with a client under the Integrated Home and Day Care programme on March 12, 2020. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans must not underestimate the importance of keeping the nation's healthcare staff safe during the coronavirus outbreak, President Halimah Yacob said during a visit to the Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens in Serangoon Garden Way on Thursday (March 12).

She said she found during her visits to primary, critical and community care facilities that this emphasis on safety had made the healthcare staff feel more confident.

President Halimah had visited the Ang Mo Kio Family Medicine Clinic on Feb 24 and the Singapore General Hospital on March 1 to speak to healthcare workers in the battle against the Covid-19 outbreak.

The common thread in all three sectors, she said, was that the "spirit is still very high" and that "they know they're being supported".

 Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens staff nurse Maurice Marie Salinas Vera, 34, said: "We follow the guidelines by the Ministry of Health very closely and remind the residents often to practise good personal hygiene such as washing their hands with soap. We do our best to raise everyone's awareness during such a situation."

The home has suspended all outdoor activities and is conducting exercises only in small groups within the premises.

Commenting on the two-week suspension of senior-centric activities organised by government agencies from Wednesday (March 11), President Halimah encouraged family members to step in to spend time with the seniors during this period. "There are a lot of activities family members can do to keep them engaged at home. They can do drawing, colouring and jigsaw puzzles."

 
 

She also urged Singaporeans to be socially responsible and continue to practise good hygiene. "This will help in containment and help to prevent transmission," she said.

Besides healthcare workers, President Halimah also interacted with residents at the nursing home and watched a band performance put up by them.