COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Safety Precautions

As part of the hospital’s heightened infection control measures, in response to limit the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), stricter visitor restrictions are in place.

Before entering the clinical areas, all visitors/caregivers will undergo temperature screening and complete a declaration form on your current health status, recent travel and recent contact with COVID-19 patients.

Under the Infectious Disease Act, it is an offence to provide false information in the health declaration form.  

 

Each patient is only allowed 1 visitor/caregiver for clinic appointments.

 

Visitors/caregivers who

  1. are unwell (fever, cough, sore throat, runny/blocked nose or breathless)
  2. have had close contact with a COVID-19 patient or travelled overseas in the last 14 days
  3. are 12 yrs and below

will not be allowed to enter patient care areas.

 

Temperature Screening & Health Declaration for Visitors/Patients

As part of heightened infection control measures, all patients/visitors to will be required to undergo temperature screening and complete a health declaration form before entering patient care areas. Visitors who have a fever, cough or breathlessness will not be allowed entry into patient care areas, and are advised to visit a polyclinic or GP.

 
We seek your understanding to help keep our patients and your loved ones safe.

We have stepped up our vigilance and precautionary measures.

Before you enter the clinical areas, you will be asked about your current health status, recent travel and recent contact with COVID-19 patients. 

 

You must inform our staff if:

  1. You have fever, cough, sore throat, runny/blocked nose or breathlessness

 

Or in the last 14 days

 

  1. You have travelled overseas

OR

  1. You have had close contact with a COVID-19 patient

As part of heightened infection control measures, all patients/visitors to will be required to undergo temperature screening and complete a health declaration* form before entering patient care areas.

All patients/visitors will be required to fill up a health declaration* form addressing the following:

In the last 14 days

  1. Have you had fever, cough, sore throat, runny/blocked nose or breathlessness?
  2. Have you had close contact with someone who:
    i) is a confirmed COVID-19 case; or
    ii) is part of a COVID-19 cluster; or
    iii) returned from a country with inbound country restrictions    
  3. Have you returned from overseas?

Visitors who have a fever, cough or breathlessness will not be allowed entry into patient care areas, and are advised to visit a polyclinic or GP.

*Under the Infectious Diseases Act, it is an offence to provide false information in the health declaration form.

To get the latest and accurate updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation in Singapore, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website at https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19

MOH Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the COVID-19 Situation in China 

Source: Ministry of Health

 

General Information about COVID-19 Situation

 

Q1

What are Coronaviruses?



Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to pneumonia (a more severe lung infection). A new coronavirus strain has been identified in Wuhan, China. The Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) has caused cases of severe pneumonia in China and cases have been exported to other countries and cities.

Q2

How does COVID-19 spread?



 

There is human to human transmission of COVID-19. For now, the evidence suggests spread is mostly via droplets. The virus is carried within droplets emitted from an infected person over a short distance, such as when the person coughs or sneezes. If these droplets come into contact with the eyes, nose or mouth of another person, directly or indirectly through hands that have come into contact with these droplets, the other person may become infected. Members of public are advised to remain vigilant and observe good personal hygiene practices.

MOH is closely monitoring the evolving situation and members of public are advised to check the MOH website for updates.

Q3

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?


The symptoms of COVID-19 infection are similar to that of regular pneumonia. Typical symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Q4

What is the treatment for COVID-19?


Supportive treatment is provided based on the patient’s clinical condition. No proven specific treatment or anti-viral drug for COVID-19 is currently available.  

Q5

Is the disease deadly? How is this compared to SARS?



The situation is evolving and many characteristics of the virus and how it may affect people are still unclear. However, current information suggests COVID-19 can cause severe disease and death in 2% to 3% of people with the infection, especially among the elderly and those people with underlying health problems or compromised immune systems.

Q6

[Updated 15 March 2020] What is the current public health travel advisory?

MOH advises travellers to defer all non-essential travel abroad.

Q7

How are the frontline workers, e.g., airline staff, healthcare workers, checkpoint staff, protected, to make sure that they do not get sick and spread the diseases?



Employees working in the various sectors would have received sector specific advisories, which include measures and precautionary measures that employees and employers can take. 

Please refer to the sector specific advisories for more details.

Q8

Where do I get the latest information on the disease situation?



Health advisories and latest information on the local disease situation is available on the Singapore Ministry of Health website at www.moh.gov.sg. For queries, please call the MOH general enquiry hotline at 6325 9220. For the latest global disease situation, you may wish to refer to information on the World Health Organisation website at www.who.int.


On Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Please click here for more FAQs on Masks (e.g. mask distribution, supplies and stockpiling).  

 

Q1

Who should wear a mask?  What kind of mask should I wear? 



For the general public who are not having any symptoms at all and are well, there is no requirement to wear a mask. 

As a good hygiene measure, people who are not well and have respiratory symptoms should wear a mask so that they do not spread any infection to other people. Anyone who has symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible, to make sure that they remain well. 

In the case of COVID-19, we know that the infection is spread through droplets. Wearing a mask will protect other people when someone with respiratory symptoms coughs or sneezes, as the mask would trap those droplets and prevent those droplets from spreading and disseminating.

As such, a surgical mask is sufficient for this case and fulfils the important function of preventing a spread if worn properly. The mask should be changed if it gets soiled or stained.

(see Advisory on Wearing Masks, under the section “Content you can use”)

Q2

Why are SCDF medical crews seen to be wearing personal protective equipment when responding to emergencies?



 

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) may implement precautionary measures to provide protection for its ambulance medical crews when dealing with emerging infectious diseases. 

Ambulance medical crews will don personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gowns, caps and goggles) when responding to cases where patients have fever or respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughs, wheezing or shortness of breath), and if they have travelled to China in the past 14 days. SCDF will also decontaminate its emergency ambulances after conveying such patients to the hospitals.

These are precautionary measures, and not confirmation of a case of COVID-19.

Q3

Why do healthcare professionals use an N95 mask and don full personal protective equipment (PPE), including goggles, then?


When dealing with infectious diseases, healthcare workers are required to wear the personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 and goggles, as they are in close contact with patients and their bodily fluids.

As such, the PPE is needed to create a barrier between healthcare workers and the infectious agents from the patients, and to reduce the risk of transmitting micro-organisms from healthcare workers to patient(s).

 

COVID-19 Infection Symptoms and Seeking Medical Attention

 

Q1

How long is the incubation period? If somebody travels to cities with confirmed cases, how many days of no-symptoms after the travel, will he/she then be considered clean and disease-free?



Data from cases in China suggests that the incubation period is up to 14 days.

Therefore, travellers are advised to monitor their health closely for at least 2 weeks upon return to Singapore. You are advised to seek medical attention promptly if you feel unwell, and to also inform your doctor of your travel history.

Q2

I would like to seek medical attention as I have a cough and runny nose and have recently travelled to the countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Should I go to the GP or do I have to go to A&E?



 

If you have recently travelled overseas, and are feeling unwell with a fever, or respiratory symptoms (such as cough, runny nose), please seek medical attention promptly. You can go to any of the Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs), as well as polyclinics. You may look for a PHPC near you at www.phpc.gov.sg. All cases fulfilling the suspect case definition seen at various healthcare settings will be reported to MOH immediately and referred to hospitals for further assessment and treatment.

Q3

Are discharged COVID-19 patients infectious?


No. COVID-19 patients in Singapore are discharged only when fully recovered and no longer transmitting the virus.

Prior to discharge, two swab tests at least 24 hours apart are done, using sputum samples, nasal or throat swabs. Doctors may also conduct tests with fecal or urine samples. Tests on consecutive days have to be negative before patients can be discharged. Patients are also given a date for follow up at the hospital.


Confirmed Cases and Contact Tracing

 

Q1

Can MOH provide more information about the whereabouts of the confirmed cases? What if I suspect that I have been at the same place as the confirmed cases? What should I do?



Contact tracing will be conducted to identify close contacts of the confirmed cases. 

If you are deemed to be a close contact of a confirmed case, you will be contacted by MOH officials and advised on the measures that you should take. Close contacts are defined as: (i) anyone who had provided care for or has had close physical contact with the patient; (ii) anyone who had stayed at the same place as a confirmed case. The health status of all close contacts will be monitored closely for 14 days from their last exposure to the patient. Those who develop symptoms will be brought to the hospital via a dedicated ambulance for further assessment.

Transient contacts can be described as anyone who had interacted with the confirmed case for short periods of time, such as passing by each other in the corridor or being on the same public transport or in the same public spaces. The risk of infection from transient contact is assessed to be low.

Q2

Can organisations collect, use and disclose personal data (including NRIC/FIN/passport numbers) of visitors to premises for the purposes of contact tracing and other response measures in the event of a COVID-19 case?



 

Organisations may collect personal data of visitors to premises for purposes of contact tracing and other response measures in the event of an emergency, such as during the outbreak of the COVID-19.

In the event of a COVID-19 case, data can be collected, used and disclosed without consent to carry out contact tracing and other response measures, pursuant to sections 1(b) of the Second, Third and Fourth Schedules to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), as this is necessary to respond to an emergency that threatens the life, health or safety of other individuals.

As organisations may require NRIC/FIN/passport numbers to accurately identify individuals in the event of a COVID-19 case, organisations may collect visitors’ NRIC, FIN or passport numbers for this purpose.

Organisations that collect such personal data must comply with the Data Protection Provisions of the PDPA, such as making reasonable security arrangements to protect the personal data in their possession from unauthorised access or disclosure, and ensuring that the personal data is not used for other purposes without consent or authorisation under the law.

Please click here for more FAQs on PDPA.


Leave of Absence (LOA), Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and Quarantine Order (QO)

 

Q1

What is the difference between being issued a Quarantine Order (QO), being under a Leave of Absence (LOA) and being under a Stay-Home Notice (SHN)? 



A QO is a legal order issued to individuals under the Infectious Diseases Act and thus have legal force with severe penalties for non-compliance.

A QO is issued to quarantine or isolate an individual who is, or is suspected to be, a carrier of an infectious disease, or a contact of a person confirmed to have an infectious disease. This is with the aim of limiting the spread of the virus in the community.  Quarantine usually occurs in the home but can also be served in dedicated Government Quarantine Facilities (GQFs) or hospitals, should the individual not have suitable accommodation in Singapore.

A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a precautionary measure. We urge those who are on LOA to be socially responsible and comply with the LOA, to prevent possible transmission of infections.  Persons on LOA should remain in their residences as much as possible, minimise visitors and maintain good records of persons with whom they come into close contact.  Persons on LOA may leave their residences for daily necessities or to attend important matters, but they must minimise time spent in public spaces and contact with others.

A Stay-Home Notice (SHN) is stricter than the LOA regime.  Those placed on SHN will have to remain in their place of residence at all times, and should not invite visitors to their residence.

Q2

[Updated 15 March 2020] Who will be put under Stay-Home Notice (SHN)? 



 

All Singapore residents (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) and long-term pass holders (including work passes, permits, Student's Pass, Dependant's Pass, and Long-term Visit Pass) with travel history to the following countries within the last 14 days will be issued a Stay-Home Notice:

  • Mainland China (outside of Hubei) (from 18 February 2020, 2359 hrs);
  • Daegu city or Cheongdo county (Republic of Korea) (from 26 February 2020, 2359 hrs);
  • Iran, northern Italy, Republic of Korea (from 4 March 2020, 2359 hrs); 
  • France, Germany, Italy, and Spain (from 15 March 2020, 2359 hrs); and
  • ASEAN countries[1], Japan, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom (from 16 March 2020, 2359 hrs),

Singapore residents, long-term pass holders, foreign employees issued with a work pass and short-term visitors who exhibit fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness and are required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoints will also be required to remain in their place of residence at all times for a 14-day period, under the SHN measure.

You may refer to this press release for more information. 

[1] ASEAN countries besides Singapore: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.

Q3

What must I do when I am issued a Stay-Home Notice? How will this affect my household members?


If you are issued a Stay-Home Notice (SHN), you will have to remain in your place of residence at all times during the 14-day period. This is stricter than the existing LOA regime, which had allowed returnees to leave their home briefly. You should make your own arrangements to procure food and daily necessities. This could include requesting your house and dormitory mates to help procure these for you or ordering home delivery services. We will also provide support for those who need help:

a. Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents (PRs) may contact the MSF ComCare Hotline at tel: 1800 222 0000.

b. Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) holders can seek assistance from the People’s Association at tel: 6344 8222.

c. Students can seek assistance from their schools and institutions, or the Ministry of Education. For pre-schoolers, please contact the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) at tel: 6735 9213.

d. Those on work passes can seek assistance from their employers or MOM at tel: 6438 5122.

Q4

What is the difference between leave of absence and the new Stay-Home Notice?


Persons taking leave of absence are allowed to leave their place of residence to purchase daily necessities or to attend to important personal matters. Persons issued a SHN should remain in their place of residence at all times during the 14-day period. 

Q5

What if I require medical attention while on SHN?



For life-threatening cases such as cardiac arrest, active seizures, breathlessness, major traumas and stroke, please call 995 directly for assistance; and

For non-emergencies (such as cough or fever, follow-up visits for chronic conditions, refilling of prescription, etc.):

1.  For Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Visit Pass holders, you may contact the People’s Association (PA) at 63448222. PA will assist you to make the necessary arrangements with the nearest Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) or GP clinic, or to arrange for a house call by a GP (for those with mobility issues). Please inform the staff and doctor of your travel history and that you have been issued a SHN;

2.  For students/ pre-school students, you can seek assistance from your school or MOE/ECDA; and

3. For foreign employees issued with a work pass, you should contact your employer.

Q6

If I am worried about my status (whether or not I am infected), can I go to a hospital / National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) to get tested?



Diagnostic testing is available for symptomatic individuals who are admitted to hospital on suspicion of infection. If you develop fever, cough or breathlessness, or are feeling unwell, you should seek medical attention (see Q7). Your doctor will assess and refer you to the hospital if necessary.

Q7

What if I do not comply with the SHN?



If you fail to comply with the SHN, you may face the following penalties, as you have put the well-being of the wider community at risk:

1.  You may be prosecuted under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act[1];

2.  If you are a Singapore Permanent Resident, Long-Term Visit Pass holder, Dependant’s Pass holder, or Student’s Pass holder, your Re-Entry Permit or passes may be revoked or the validity shortened;

3.  If you are a foreign employee issued with a work pass, your work pass may be revoked. This is because the SHN is imposed on you pursuant to Section 7(4)(a) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act[2]; and

4.  If your child/ward is a full-time student attending a preschool, school or other educational institution in Singapore, your child/ward might be subjected to disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal. For foreign students, this may include the cancellation of your child’s/ward’s Student’s Pass or Dependant’s Pass.

[1] Any person guilty of an offence under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act shall (a) in the case of a first offence, be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both; and (b) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

[2] The Controller of Work Passes may at any time vary or revoke any of the existing conditions of a work pass or impose new conditions. As an additional condition of your work pass, you must comply with the SHN.

Q8

I have been in recent contact with someone who has been issued a Quarantine Order (QO). What should I do?



Persons issued with a Quarantine Order are individuals assessed to have had close contact with a confirmed case, and they are generally well and have no symptoms.

We would advise you to monitor your health closely. If you have fever, cough or runny nose, wear a mask and seek medical attention promptly. Call the clinic ahead of your visit and inform the doctor of your symptoms as well as your travel history, if any.

 

On Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) Scheme

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is re-activating the Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) to focus our primary care efforts to better detect and manage COVID-19 infections.  Please click here for more information from the press release.

From 18 February, the PHPCs, as well as polyclinics, will provide special subsidies for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents diagnosed with respiratory illnesses (e.g. common cold).  Please click here to find a PHPC located near you.  

You may also refer to this link for the FAQs on the PHPC Scheme.