COVID-19: Senior-centric activities continue to be suspended until 30 April

A couple wearing face masks in Singapore on 22 March, 2020. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

By Amir Hussain and Dhany Osman

SINGAPORE — Senior-centric activities in Singapore will continue to be suspended until 30 April, the multi-ministry taskforce for COVID-19 announced on Tuesday (24 March).

Such activities have been suspended since 11 March at all community clubs, residents’ committees, Senior Activity Centres, Active Aging Hubs, CREST Centres, Health Promotion Board and ActiveSG sports centres.

In addition, the taskforce is advising seniors and individuals with underlying chronic medical conditions – such as heart diseases, diabetes and lung diseases – to avoid social gatherings and crowded places.

Speaking at a press conference, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said, “We advise them to avoid social gatherings and crowded places as far as possible, and to only go out for essential purposes, such as to work or to buy food and other essential items.”

They are also advised to maintain vigilance and good personal hygiene such as washing their hands frequently and avoiding touching their faces and eyes unnecessarily. They should also see a doctor immediately if feeling unwell.

The suspension of senior-centric activities was implemented after a slew of infected cases linked to a senior citizen social activity at SAFRA Jurong. The infected seniors had subsequently taken part in singing classes and other activities such as qigong and line-dancing at several CCs and RCs.

Community isolation facility in Pasir Ris

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is also setting up a community isolation facility at D’Resort NTUC in Pasir Ris Close, in order to cope with a possible surge in cases.

The facility has a maximum capacity of about 500 persons and is now operational. Patients who are clinically well enough to be discharged but are still testing positive for COVID-19 will be placed in the facility for isolation and care.

These patients have been isolated in hospitals thus far. However, as they do not require significant medical care, it has not been an efficient use of the hospitals’ resources.

The facility is modelled after the existing government quarantine facilities, and will be managed with a higher baseline level of infection control by staff. The cost of isolation in the facility will be borne by the government.

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