Coronavirus: Protective gear for SCDF paramedics on all emergency calls

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin (centre) during a visit to the Singapore Civil Defence Force headquarters in Ubi on Feb 12, 2020.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin (centre) during a visit to the Singapore Civil Defence Force headquarters in Ubi on Feb 12, 2020. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) have been wearing protective equipment when responding to all types of emergency medical situations, and not just when attending to suspected coronavirus patients.

Speaking to the media yesterday during a visit to the SCDF headquarters, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin urged the public to remain calm when they encounter SCDF paramedics in protective gear, saying the measure has been in place since last Friday, when the Health Ministry raised the disease outbreak response level to "orange".

He also said that ambulances are thoroughly cleansed and decontaminated after sending suspected coronavirus patients to a hospital.

Mr Amrin, who was there to encourage front-line workers, including paramedics and call operators, noted that front-line officers and healthcare workers have faced discrimination from members of the public, who fear they may carry the virus. "These are very unfortunate incidents, and it is very disgraceful. It does not reflect the best of us as Singaporeans," said Mr Amrin.

Instead, the public should encourage and support the ordinary men and women who are serving the country in this time of need, he added.

SCDF said that as of yesterday morning, the agency had responded to 219 suspected cases of coronavirus patients, but it had been able to cope with the increased number of calls in recent weeks.

SCDF's chief medical officer, Colonel (Dr) Shalini Arulanandam, said that operators and para-medics help screen for suspected coronavirus cases by asking a set list of questions.

She urged the public to continue to visit their general practitioners if they are unwell. These doctors will then screen the patients and give them appropriate directions.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2020, with the headline 'Protective gear for SCDF paramedics on all emergency calls'. Print Edition | Subscribe