Visits to residential care homes suspended till Oct 11
Move comes after rise in cases among people at aged-care facilities
All in-person visits to residential care homes will be suspended for a month from today, as an additional measure to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in these places, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday.
This comes after an increase in the number of cases was detected recently among staff, clients and residents of aged-care facilities.
The ministry said the suspension till Oct 11 will buy time to encourage more unvaccinated seniors to get vaccinated, as well as roll out the vaccine booster programme for these residents.
"We will also be strengthening the testing regime for both staff and residents/ clients of aged-care facilities, and will use antigen rapid tests more frequently to complement the current surveillance testing in these settings," said MOH.
It said there were 42 cases across 18 aged-care facilities or providers in the last two weeks.
"With the number of cases expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks, we need to take further action to protect the vulnerable seniors in these settings," said MOH.
The multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 said on Friday that seniors aged 60 years and above and residents of aged-care facilities will be invited to sign up for their third jab of a Covid-19 vaccine from tomorrow.
With the daily number of reported Covid-19 cases on the rise in recent weeks, driven largely by the highly contagious Delta variant, the task force has warned the daily figure may exceed 1,000 a day.
The number of daily cases rose to 288 cases a day in the past week from an average of 76 cases a day a fortnight ago.
The authorities have asked Singapore residents to reduce non-essential social activities over the next two weeks.
MOH yesterday urged the next-of-kin of unvaccinated seniors in aged-care facilities to support and encourage their loved ones to be vaccinated.
"Unvaccinated seniors may suffer severe illness if infected," it said.
Madam Low Mui Lang, Peacehaven Nursing Home's executive director, believes family members of residents will be understanding of the suspension as this is not the first time such a measure was implemented.
About 10 per cent of the close to 400 residents at Peacehaven have yet to be vaccinated.
"We feel that residents' safety should come first. Virtual visits such as through Skype or ordering of food through GrabFood can still continue," she said.