COVID-19: All senior-centric activities conducted by government agencies to be suspended for 14 days

SINGAPORE — In a move to protect seniors in Singapore from the COVID-19 outbreak, all senior-centric activities conducted by government agencies will be suspended for 14 days, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Tuesday (10 March).

The activities that will be suspended from Wednesday to 24 March include those held at community centres (CCs), Residents’ Committees (RCs), senior activity centres, active aging hubs, CREST centres, Health Promotion Board and ActiveSG sport centres.

“Seniors are a particularly vulnerable group and we want to protect them,” said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at a press conference on Tuesday.

“We want to encourage seniors to be active, but there is now evidence of COVID-19 transmission among the seniors participating in such social activities because some individuals who were unwell had continued continued to participate in them,” he said.

Many confirmed cases over the weekend were linked to the SAFRA Jurong cluster and other social activities. As of Monday night, the cluster accounted for 39 out of a total of 166 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection – the largest cluster so far.

The infected seniors had taken part in singing classes and other activities such as qigong and line-dancing at several CCs and RCs, said Gan. “They are active agers who frequently participate in such group activities and they also join multiple groups across different venues in Singapore,” he added.

More precautionary measures before activities resume

The move announced on Tuesday is an expansion of the 14-day suspension of all activities and classes in CCs and RCs – announced last Saturday – which previous confirmed cases had participated in, and singing classes organised by the People’s Association (PA) at the affected CCs and RCs.

In the meantime, organisers will implement more precautionary measures before activities resume such as reducing the group size for activities to prevent crowding, reorganising activities to minimise physical contact, increasing the frequency of sanitising equipment between activities, providing sufficient facilities for hand washing and checking if participants are unwell.

Care services for seniors, such as nursing homes, inpatient and day hospices, senior care centre services and home-based care services, will still run but with additional precautionary measures in place.

The health ministry advises seniors to take precautionary measures to keep themselves safe such as practising good personal hygiene, washing their hands frequently and avoiding touching their face and eyes. Those who feel unwell should see a doctor and stay at home.

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