Just about 2 years ago, the F1 Pit Building in Marina Bay hosted the glamour of the world’s only night race.
Now, with the Singapore Grand Prix cancelled for 2 years in a row, it’s getting ready to host a different kind of visitor – Covid-19 patients.
The premises have been converted into a Covid-19 Treatment Facility (CTF) that will open next Tuesday (9 Nov).
It will also have 700 beds, easing the crunch in our hospitals somewhat
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung revealed the facility’s opening date in a Facebook post on Saturday (6 Nov) after he visited the place.
He said that though the facility was used to turn around F1 cars, it will now “turn around” Covid-19 patients.
As an indication of what it was previously used for, photos of F1 drivers can still be seen outside the building.
It was previously reported that the building’s purpose would be similar to that of Community Care Facilities (CCFs).
That means it’ll likely be housing patients who are well but have underlying health conditions.
Thus, nurses and doctors will be on duty to help patients who require clinical care.
Resources like oxygen supplementation equipment will also be at hand.
Though it seems like a lot of work to put up a facility like this, it was prepared in less than 1 month, Minister Ong said.
He thanked various organisations for making this possible, including the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), for temporarily offering the building.
The National University Health System (NUHS) and Health Management International will operate the facility and provide manpower.
The minister also met Kiren, who’ll be the Nursing Lead of the facility. He’s currently Nurse Manager at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at NUH and has been a nurse for 9 years.
Besides that, MOH Holdings and Surbana Jurong planned and designed the facility, while Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) provided over 80 computers-on-wheels for tech support.
For patient care, Mandarin Oriental hotel will be preparing food and engaging the seniors through activities.
A small but interesting fact is that the NUHS team at the F1 Pit Building will wear their own custom-made patch.
Notice the 2 checked flags on the patch? They ostensibly represent what the building was originally used for.
From the words at the edge, the Ops Beacon Hope patch will also represent courage, compassion and fortitude.
The F1 Pit Building facility won’t be the last CTF to pop up in Singapore.
Minister Ong said the Government expects to add even more capacity soon.
By the end of Nov, there should be about 4,000 beds more.
Over the past 2 months, over 2,300 beds have already been added in 17 CTFs and private hospitals, he added.
And he couldn’t resist making a small pun as he concluded, saying,
I know our patients will be on the road to a good recovery with these meticulous arrangements.
With daily Covid-19 cases in the thousands, hospital capacity is our most vital resource.
So kudos to all involved in setting up the F1 Pit Building so quickly.
While F1 fans will hope the place can be restored to its original purpose sooner than later, at least it’s playing a part in our pandemic battle now.
Let’s hope all the patients there will have a speedy recovery.
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Featured image adapted from Ong Ye Kung on Facebook.
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