Coronavirus: Subsidised treatment for respiratory symptoms

Patients at the Toa Payoh Polyclinic on Jan 14, 2020.
Patients at the Toa Payoh Polyclinic on Jan 14, 2020.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be activating a network of around 900 general practitioner clinics to provide subsidised treatment for people with respiratory symptoms, in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Staff at these Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) have been guided on the appropriate care protocols according to the assessed risk and diagnosis of each patient, and will be supplied with personal protection equipment, MOH said.

The clinic network, which will be progressively activated from Tuesday, was last tapped to deal with haze and the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

At PHPCs and polyclinics, Singapore citizens and permanent residents will pay a flat subsidised rate of $10 for their consultation and treatment of respiratory symptoms such as coughs, fevers, sore throats and runny noses. Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors pay $5.

"This is a step up, and it is an additional line of defence we are putting in place so we can intervene early in the detection and pick up more cases," said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force along with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

The Health Ministry has also advised doctors to give patients with such symptoms five days of sick leave.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2020, with the headline 'Subsidised treatment for respiratory symptoms'. Subscribe