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Vital to keep healthcare workers safe: President Halimah

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Singaporeans must not underestimate the importance of keeping the nation's healthcare staff safe during the coronavirus outbreak, President Halimah Yacob said yesterday.

She said she found during her visits to primary, critical and community care facilities that this emphasis on safety had made the healthcare staff feel more confident.

Madam Halimah was speaking to reporters during a visit to the Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens in Serangoon Garden Way.

She had visited the Ang Mo Kio Family Medicine Clinic on Feb 24 and the Singapore General Hospital on March 1 to speak to healthcare workers in the battle against the Covid-19 outbreak.

The common thread in all three sectors, she said, was that the "spirit is still very high" and that "they know they're being supported".

Staff nurse at the Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens Maurice Marie Salinas Vera, 34, said: "We follow the guidelines by the Ministry of Health very closely and remind the residents often to practise good personal hygiene such as washing their hands with soap.

"We do our best to raise everyone's awareness during such a situation."

The home has suspended all outdoor activities and is conducting exercises only in small groups on the premises.

Commenting on the two-week suspension of senior-centric activities organised by government agencies from Wednesday, Madam Halimah encouraged family members to step in to spend time with the seniors during this period.

"There are a lot of activities family members can do to keep them engaged at home.

"They can do drawing, colouring and jigsaw puzzles."

She also urged Singaporeans to be socially responsible and continue to practise good hygiene.

"This will help in containment and help to prevent transmission," she said.

Besides the healthcare workers, Madam Halimah also interacted with residents at the nursing home and watched a band performance put up by them.

coronavirus