Exhibition centre now an isolation facility, with robots serving meals
Changi Exhibition Centre, now an isolation facility, receives first batch of Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms
The Changi Exhibition Centre, home of the Singapore Airshow, received its first batch of Covid-19 patients on Saturday.
About 50 patients with mild symptoms are now at the community isolation facility, with their meals served by robots.
The facility's large indoor space of 33,000 sq m allows it to house about 2,700 patients.
This is more than five times that of the first community isolation facility at D'Resort NTUC in Pasir Ris. It has the capacity to expand further if necessary, tapping another 75,000 sq m of outdoor space, the facility's executive committee said during a tour of the site last Friday.
The facility is managed by hotel Mandarin Oriental Singapore and has 52 jet blowers to ensure that the area remains well ventilated.
The patients' living quarters are equipped with Wi-Fi access, fans, beds and storage cabinets. Welcome packs, which include essentials such as hand sanitiser, detergent and toiletries, are distributed to each patient.
A Telegram channel called Second Home has also been created, broadcasting messages in languages such as Bengali, Tamil, Mandarin and English.
To boost morale, volunteers from the Singapore Indian Association send words of encouragement over the channel.
Singapore Discovery Centre executive director Joseph Tan, who is on the facility's infrastructure committee, said: "We wanted to make sure that the residents who are staying here would be as comfortable as they could possibly be."
The site was converted to its current state in less than three weeks, thanks to the combined efforts of nine organisations affiliated with the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), as well as the Dormitory Association of Singapore, consultancy company Surbana Jurong and Experia Events, which provided the venue.
Four remote-controlled robots have been deployed in the facility, allowing patients to engage virtually with volunteers who can help answer questions in their language and organise welfare activities.
Machines around the facility allow patients to check their blood pressure and pulse on their own thrice daily, with a medical team monitoring the results.
There are six tele-consultation stations, where patients can consult a doctor 24/7 with the help of a nurse who is stationed there.
More serious cases will be referred to the facility's medical centre for face-to-face consultations, and emergency cases can be evacuated to a nearby hospital if necessary.
Swabbing stations are also located in the facility, allowing patients to be tested and cleared before being discharged.
Putting the facility together in such a short period of time was no easy task.
Mr Tan Chong Boon, general manager of The Chevrons, one of the nine Mindef-affiliated organisations, said that his team worked seven days a week from the start of the project to get the venue ready for the first batch of patients.
"We're motivated because we know that we're doing it for a good cause," said Mr Tan, who is on the facility's operations committee.