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Measures that will remain for visitation of nursing home residents

5th Jun 2020

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Cheryl Chan Wei Ling

MP for Fengshan

Question No. 3665

To ask the Minister for Health after the lifting of the circuit breaker on 1 June (a) what measures will remain for visitation of residents living in nursing homes; (b) whether swab tests will be conducted for seniors and staff in day care centres; and (c) which phase will senior activity centres be classified under for resumption of their operations.

Oral Answer

1      Seniors are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection as they develop more severe symptoms if infected. We have thus undertaken a more cautious approach to the resumption of senior-centric activities when the circuit breaker ends.

2      In Phase 1, on-site activities that can be done individually (like craftwork, reading and gardening) will gradually resume at Senior Activity Centres, with restrictions on the activity duration and the total number of persons per session. Given that nursing home residents are generally more frail, face-to-face visits will continue to be suspended to keep the risk of infection low. Nursing homes will continue to facilitate interactions between seniors and their loved ones via phone and video calls. Nursing homes can also allow face-to-face visits in exceptional circumstances such as when the patient is critically ill. We will progressively resume more activities across different settings when the situation improves.

3      We conduct surveillance testing for the eldercare sector, to complement existing precautionary measures such as safe distancing, visitor restrictions, and infection control. We prioritised swab tests for staff and clients at residential care homes in May and in June, we will progressively test staff of other eldercare services in operation, including those working at day care centres.

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