Visits to elderly residential care homes in S'pore suspended from June 5 to 20

MOH says this is to “reduce the risk of importing Covid-19 into such settings, and the risk of cross-transmission”.
MOH says this is to “reduce the risk of importing Covid-19 into such settings, and the risk of cross-transmission”.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Visitors will not be allowed at residential care homes serving the elderly from Saturday (June 5) to June 20, in view of recent Covid-19 community cases.

The Ministry of Health on Friday said the temporary ban is to "reduce the risk of importing Covid-19 into such settings, and the risk of cross-transmission".

"We will work with the homes on strengthening precautionary measures... to assist homes in resuming physical visitations safely," it added.

This includes reviewing visitor management and testing policies at the nursing homes, welfare homes, sheltered homes and adult disability homes.

The latest restriction follows the discovery of a Covid-19 cluster at the MINDSville @ Napiri home. As at Thursday noon, the facility in Hougang for adults with intellectual disabilities has 27 cases.

Visits to homes serving the elderly resumed last year on June 19, after being suspended for almost three months. That suspension came after a cluster of Covid-19 infections emerged at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home in Thomson, followed by another cluster of 15 cases in Acacia Home - a welfare home in Admiralty for the destitute.

During the circuit breaker, all residents and staff at homes caring for the elderly underwent mass testing to detect infections early and ring-fence clusters.

Even as community cases surged at the end of April this year, visits had continued under tightened restrictions. Some nursing homes took the extra step of barring visitors who had recently been to Tan Tock Seng Hospital - the site of Singapore's first Covid-19 hospital cluster.

Nursing homes that did not have suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases capped the total number of visitors each day.

Each resident could pre-register up to four designated visitors but no more than two could turn up at one time.

In addition, nursing homes with more than 100 beds implemented split zones while ensuring staff and residents did not mix across such zones.