Centre to manage infectious diseases to be fully operational by May
A state-of-the-art national centre for managing infectious diseases is set to be fully operational by May.
The 330-bed National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) is designed to manage an outbreak on the scale of the severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, said its executive director Leo Yee Sin, at a media briefing yesterday.
It stands next to the new Ng Teng Fong Centre for Healthcare Innovation and, together, the facilities in Novena cost $900 million to build.
The NCID takes over the functions of Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Communicable Disease Centre (CDC), which closed on Dec 13 last year. Since then, the NCID has been treating patients at its outpatient clinic.
A key feature of the centre is its high-level isolation unit (HLIU) for treating high-risk pathogens, including haemorrhagic fevers caused by the Ebola virus, as well as biothreat agents such as anthrax.
Patients with or suspected to have these diseases are admitted through a special pathway, including a lift just for them.
The HLIU is a first in Singapore, Prof Leo said.
The unit has a laboratory for samples to be analysed on-site. At the CDC, samples were sent out to other laboratories.
Said Prof Leo: "If we need to confront conditions that are highly contagious, we can effectively lock down the unit while ensuring patients can still receive the maximum level of care with all the integrated support facilities and infrastructure that are in the building."
All sections in the centre that handle patients or samples have special features to further prevent contamination.
The centre's ventilation system is designed for air to always flow from higher-pressure "clean" areas such as the corridor to lower-pressure "dirty" areas such as the patient's room or laboratory suite where samples are analysed.