Coronavirus: Various healthcare services to resume from June 2

Visitors from up to two households will also be allowed to visit loved ones in hospital

From June 2, visitors from up to two households will be allowed to visit loved ones in hospital. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

No botox procedures will be allowed, but ayurvedic, chiropractic and osteopathic treatments will resume from June 2.

Details on the gradual resumption of healthcare services were released by the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday.

The ministry said the services will gradually resume in phases after the end of the circuit breaker period, in line with the reopening of the economy.

The current restrictions on hospital visitors will be eased slightly.

From June 2, visitors from up to two households will be allowed to visit loved ones in hospital. But a maximum of five visitors will be allowed to pre-register and only one person will be able to visit at a time.

Hospitals may introduce further measures to space out visits and avoid crowding, said the ministry.

In its statement, MOH listed the various services that will resume from June 2, but noted that services which alter appearances but do not cure or ameliorate diseases or illnesses will still be deferred. This means no Botox, fillers or threadlifts.

For hospital-based care, specialist outpatient services, medical procedures and allied health services for patients with higher needs will resume from June 2.

These include care that has already been deferred some months and cannot be postponed further without affecting the patient's outcome. Some examples would be surgery for visually significant or advanced cataracts, hearing implants in children, joint surgeries for patients with severe impairment, in-vitro fertilisation and diabetic foot screening.

Chronic disease management can resume as well, depending on medical necessity and available capacity among healthcare providers.

Preventive health services such as flu vaccines and pre-enlistment screenings will recommence.

Dental procedures such as scaling and polishing, fillings, crowns, dentures and orthodontic treatment will also be allowed.

Community-based services with home visits will also be allowed for patients, though priority will be given to those with urgent needs.

Traditional Chinese medicine needle acupuncture can also resume for all conditions. Ayurvedic, chiropractic, osteopathic and other forms of traditional and complementary services for management of medical conditions and symptom relief are also allowed.

Healthcare providers will prioritise patients with more urgent medical needs first, even as services resume.

MOH said physical visits should still be minimised whenever possible as there is still a need to reduce the risk of community transmissions. Teleconsultation and medication delivery is preferred.

Collection of medications for continual management of existing medical conditions should be done on appointment basis as far as possible.

All healthcare staff will continue to wear masks, maintain good personal hygiene and ensure regular cleaning of activity equipment and shared spaces.

MOH said the multi-ministry task force will monitor daily infection rates. If community transmission rates remain low and stable and the dormitory situation remains under control, more services would resume in subsequent phases.

At a later phase, cancer screening and pre-employment medical screening may be allowed.

The ministry would also consider further easing visitor restrictions to allow more family and friends to visit those in hospital.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Various healthcare services to resume from June 2. Subscribe