When Singapore started recording the worst spike in cases since the pandemic started, visits to hospitals and residential care homes were banned.
Now that we’re finally relaxing some restrictions after almost 2 months, visitors to these places that house vulnerable people will also be allowed.
However, both patient and visitor will have to be fully vaccinated.
The visitor must also take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) and get a negative result before entry.
In a press release on Saturday (20 Nov), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said they’re conscious of the well-being of those staying in hospitals and residential care homes.
This is especially since they’ve not seen visitors in more than 2 months.
Residential care homes banned visitors on 13 Sep, while hospitals followed suit from 24 Sep.
However, MOH also wants to protect these vulnerable individuals from exposure to Covid-19.
Thus, the ministry will be implementing Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) for hospital visits from 22 Nov (Monday).
That means only fully vaccinated visitors may visit fully vaccinated patients/residents, subject to restrictions on numbers and duration.
Visitors and patients/residents who’re medically ineligible to receive a vaccine will also be allowed, as a concession.
If either the visitor or patient/resident is unvaccinated, or even partially vaccinated, the visit won’t be allowed.
However, there are some exceptional situations where the authorities will relent on a case-by-case basis.
These include when the patients are children, mothers before/after giving birth, in critical condition, or require support from caregivers.
Here’s a summary of the regulations that will take effect from 22 Nov:
These measures don’t apply to people who are seeking medical care from hospitals, so nobody who’s in need of treatment will be refused.
Even when the visit is allowed, there are many rules that need to be followed.
For example, a negative ART result must be shown within 24 hours of the visit. This test must be self-funded by the visitor.
The visitor can choose to pay for an ART done by MOH-approved test providers or take a self-test. However, if they opt for the self-test, they must take a photo of the result and show it with a photo ID before entry.
If the visitor isn’t fully vaccinated but is allowed to visit under exceptional circumstances, the ART test must be done by an MOH-approved test provider.
There are also limits on visitor numbers and visit duration for both hospitals and residential care homes.
At both facilities, each visit must be capped at just 30 minutes – so say what you need to say quickly.
For hospitals, each patient may register only 2 visitors, and only 1 of them can be at their bedside at any time. As only 2 visits are allowed per day, both the registered visitors can still visit separately, on the same day.
Critically ill patients can register 5 visitors and have 2 visitors at their bedside each time.
Needless to say, all visitors must wear surgical masks or reusable masks with 2 layers of fabric at all times. They must also refrain from eating, drinking, sitting on patients’ beds or using their toilets.
For residential care homes, each resident will be allowed up to 4 visitors, with 1 designated visitor allowed per visit.
However, visits will be suspended again if the home is managing an active Covid-19 cluster. Visitors should schedule their visits ahead of time.
After more than 2 months without visitors, patients and residents of care homes may have been starved of the company of their loved ones.
The move to welcome visitors again will thus be good for their mental health.
However, the pandemic is still raging, so there’s still the horrific possibility of an outbreak at one of these places.
So if you’re visiting anybody, please strictly follow safety guidelines to protect those who’re vulnerable.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image by MS News.
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