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Singapore’s measures to combat Covid-19 outbreak

Singapore is among the high-risk countries from the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, because of its ties to China and international business hub status. With already 89 confirmed cases in the city as of 27 of February, among them local (community) spread cases. However, Singapore is a tough enemy of the virus. The city-state learned its lessons from the SARS and ZIKA outbreaks and its new war plan against Covid-19 is likely to be working just fine. In today’s article by Pacific Prime Singapore, we will be looking at what measures Singapore is taking to combat the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. 

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Current Covid-19 situation in Singapore 

Covid-19 infection cases in Singapore (as of 27 Feb 2020) reached 96 people. Of these, 66 cases have already been discharged from hospital, 22 are stable and 8 cases are in critical condition. 

The majority of those tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Singapore has no recent travel history to China, raising an alarm over a further potential increase in local transmission cases. The number of local community cases is 72, and many of them are linked to places of worship such as the Grace Assembly of God. 

What is Singapore doing to combat Covid-19 outbreak

Since the news about the novel coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of the year, Singapore has implemented various measures, such as border restrictions, contact tracing, and quarantine policies, to contain the spread of the coronavirus since the first case in the city was detected in late January.

Cooperation between agencies

This is undeniably the strongest weapon Singapore has against the novel coronavirus. Not only is the Ministry of Health informing the public daily on the situation, preparing clinics, hospitals and staff for the emergency, but the police and immigration departments are also making sure laws of quarantine are enforced. Furthermore, the tracing of cases starts the moment an infected person begins treatment in the hospital, and people in contact with the infected ones are also being put into quarantine. An important part of combating the virus is the transparency of the ministries and the cooperation of citizens.

Reducing the risk of imported cases 

The Stay at Home Notice applies to Singaporeans and those living and working in Singapore who have traveled to high-risk areas, such as Hubei Province in China, in the last two weeks. The notice requires them to remain in their homes at all times for 14 days. Since February 25th, the quarantine order has been extended to those who have visited the South Korean cities of Daegu and Cheongdo. Click here for more information and travel advice during the Covid-19 outbreak.

People who were in contact with the infected cases and are asymptomatic are being issued Leave of Absence orders, which are less restrictive than Stay at Home Notices. Those on LOAs are expected to remain in their residence as much as possible, minimize visitors, and maintain a record of persons they come into close contact with.

Public Health Preparedness Clinics

Beyond border controls, Singapore’s second line of defense is to identify and isolate the people with the virus, as well as all of the close contacts of the infected persons. Reactivation of about 900 Public Health Preparedness Clinics across the city is one of the ways to help detect patients infected with the virus earlier. 

The PHPCs, which provide subsidized treatment and medication for Singapore residents and permanent citizens during public health outbreaks, were previously activated to deal with the haze and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Expats, as such, should hold valid individual health insurance to have the costs covered. The registration process starts outside the clinic, where a patient must fill in a health and travel questionnaire, and then, each patient will be seen in a separate isolation room to minimize any contact and virus spread.

Doctors at the PHPCs have also been advised to provide medical certificates (MCs) of five days for patients with respiratory symptoms. If the patients with respiratory disease symptoms do not recover after 5 days, they will be referred for further medical assessment and tests, before being sent to the hospital. 

Masks for every household 

To avoid panic in the community, the Singapore government will give every Singapore household a pack of 4 masks. Go to www.maskgowhere.gov.sg to learn more. 

General advisory for workplace measures

The Singapore Government encourages businesses to implement precautionary measures, such as staff temperature screenings, arranging work from home for back-end employees, and alternating teams who come into work to minimize the spread of the virus.  

Strong law enforcement 

One of the final pillars of the Covid-19 combat strategy is strong law enforcement in Singapore. Already a few people who violated the Infectious Diseases Act of Singapore might face its repercussions. 

The first case is a Chinese couple, who is charged for giving false information to officials from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and obstructing the conduct of contact tracing.

Another man, whose case just recently hit the news, lost his permanent visa privilege after not abiding his Stay at Home Notice, which was given to him as he recently came back from China, and willfully leaving the country on February 23rd. 

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Staying safe in Singapore during Covid-19 outbreak

As per the latest Ministry of Health advisory and global virus prevention guidelines, maintaining one’s good personal hygiene and washing hands often is of utmost importance in the combat against the virus. Maintaining one’s good health by following a good diet and exercising strengthens the immune system. Avoiding large gatherings and those who show symptoms also decrease the chance of contracting this infectious disease. 

Singapore citizens and permanent residents who use their Medisave can enjoy discounted clinic visits and care in public infectious disease hospitals. However, expatriates who contract the disease must pay for the treatment out-of-pocket, unless they secure an individual or family health plan in Singapore. For more information, plans comparison and free quotes, feel free to contact our advisors today! 

elwira

Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Elwira Skrybus is a content writer at Pacific Prime. In her everyday work, she is utilizing her previous social media and branding experience to create informative articles, guides, and reports to help our readers simplify the sometimes-puzzling world of international health insurance.

When she isn’t writing, you are most likely to find Elwira in search of the perfect plant-based burger or enjoying Hong Kong’s great outdoors either at the beach or from the boat - the closer to the sea, the better!