SINGAPORE — When hospital visitations resume in Singapore on Thursday (19 August), visitors need to show that they are either fully vaccinated or have obtained a negative pre-visit COVID-19 test result before they can enter the wards.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a media release on Monday that this vaccination-differentiated approach will be implemented at all hospitals to protect patients from COVID-19 infection, by reducing the risk of the coronavirus being imported into the hospitals.
These measures complement existing ones such as routine testing for hospital staff and admitted patients, which had been implemented from May. From 1 October, hospital staff will also be part of the "vaccinate or regular test" regime for workers in the healthcare sector.
Fully-vaccinated, partially-vaccinated, unvaccinated visitors
Fully-vaccinated visitors, as well as those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have a valid pre-event test (PET) exemption notice, will be able to enter the hospital wards without the need for a pre-visit COVID-19 test.
They will be required to show their vaccination status on HealthHub or the TraceTogether app as proof of vaccination. Screenshots will not be allowed.
Unvaccinated visitors must go for a self-paid pre-visit COVID-19 test, and be tested negative before they are allowed to enter the hospital wards.
The test can be either an antigen rapid test (ART) or a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, with the result being obtained within 24 hours of the visit from a MOH-approved COVID-19 test provider. From 1 September, hospitals may assist unvaccinated visitors to make advanced self-paid testing arrangements at Quick Test Centres.
Partially-vaccinated individuals are temporarily exempted from the testing requirement until 30 September. From 1 October, they will also be required to show a negative pre-visit COVID-19 test result before being allowed to enter hospital wards.
Those who are unwell or symptomatic should not visit patients in the hospital wards, regardless of their vaccination status.
Other measures remain in place
Under exceptional and time-sensitive situations, hospitals may assist unvaccinated visitors with ART testing on a case-by-case basis.
These situations include visiting patients with sudden life-threatening conditions, unexpected child birth/delivery, and individuals or elderly with severe physical limitations which restrict their access to pre-visit testing providers.
Besides the vaccination-differentiated entry approach, other hospital measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 clusters will remain in place.
The current 30-minute visitation duration will be maintained for all visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Each patient can register up to two visitors per admission, and can receive up to two visits per day. Only one visitor is allowed at the bedside.
Patients who are very ill will be allowed five registered visitors for each admission, with two visitors allowed at the bedside each time.
Exception will be given to visitors of the following patient groups to extend their visit beyond 30 minutes, on a conditional, case-by-case basis: paediatric patients, birthing/post-partum mothers, and patients requiring additional care support from caregivers.
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