Visits to hospital wards in Singapore suspended from Monday to 20 Feb

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Caregiver monitoring oxygen saturation at fingertip of elderly woman.
Caregiver monitoring oxygen saturation of elderly woman. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Personal visits to all hospital wards and residential care homes in Singapore will be suspended from Monday (24 January) to 20 February 2022, the multi-ministerial taskforce on COVID-19 said on Friday.

During the four-week period, hospitals and homes have the discretion to allow visits for exceptional cases, for example if the patient or resident is critically ill, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

MOH said keeping the healthcare system functioning well under such circumstances will be a difficult challenge and the suspension is to better protect patients and healthcare workers, particularly settings with vulnerable persons.

High case numbers in Singapore’s workforce can disrupt business operations, as observed in other countries which have already experienced Omicron waves.

“Even if workers who are infected have mild or no symptoms, health protocols will require them to be isolated. As the number of infections could potentially be very large, absenteeism rate can go up very sharply,” MOH said.

Businesses, particularly those which provide essential services, should ensure robust business continuity plans are in place, and adhere strictly to workplace safe management measures to minimise transmissions.