SINGAPORE - Visitor safe management measures at all hospital wards and residential care homes will be tightened for four weeks, starting from Oct 14 to Nov 10, as Covid-19 cases in the community rise.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said patients will be allowed only two pre-designated visitors, and only one of them can be at the bedside at any one time.
Critically ill patients will be allowed up to five pre-designated visitors, of which two can be at their bedside at any one time.
Each visit will be limited to 30 minutes.
In exceptional situations - such as for critically ill or paediatric patients, birthing or post-partum mothers, and those requiring additional care support - visitors may be allowed to stay beyond 30 minutes on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the hospital.
Visitors should not eat or drink in the hospital wards or use the toilets designated for patients.
They should also avoid sitting on patients’ beds.
Those in residential care homes may have up to four pre-designated visitors, and only one visitor may be allowed at any one time for up to 30 minutes.
Visitors should continue to schedule visits ahead of time, and strictly adhere to prevailing safe management measures when visiting.
Visits may have to be suspended if the home is managing active Covid-19 cases.
Visitors to hospitals and residential care homes have to ensure that they are well and are strongly encouraged to take an antigen rapid test on the day of their visits.
The hospitals and homes have the discretion to impose stricter visitor limits or testing requirements for visitors of vulnerable or unvaccinated patients.
MOH said the tightened measures are to protect healthcare capacity and the vulnerable during this period of rising cases.
There were 9,611 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, down from the post-weekend spike of 11,732 on Tuesday.
There were 4,719 new cases on Monday.
MOH added that the hospital emergency departments are seeing a high number of patients daily.
Members of the public are advised to head there only for emergency conditions.
Those who turn up at the emergency department with non-emergency conditions, even if they are children, may be asked to go to other clinics instead.
"MOH will review and calibrate these measures regularly in line with the evolving Covid-19 situation," it said.
"We seek the understanding and cooperation of patients, residents, and their family members and loved ones as we work to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission in our healthcare institutions."
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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.