The Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced that Phase Two will commence on 19 June 2020, as community infection rates have remained generally stable in Phase One. Seniors are especially vulnerable and should be extra careful as more activities resume in Phase Two.
Approach for Phase Two
2. In Phase Two, with more activities and interactions, there will likely be a higher risk of community transmission. Therefore, we encourage seniors to continue to stay home as much as possible and to limit their interactions to a small regular circle of close contacts. Households may receive up to five visitors a day, and visitors of households with seniors should take extra care to maintain a safe distance from seniors, and practise good hand hygiene. Seniors should continue to avoid peak hours if they need to go out.
More senior-centric activities will resume in Phase Two
Senior-centric activities may resume with precautions
3. Senior-centric activities organised by the People’s Association, Health Promotion Board, Sport Singapore, and the Council for Third Age (C3A) may resume. However, in order to keep interactions low, these will be limited only to activities that can be done individually, with no sharing of equipment between participants. Examples include computer classes and health talks. These sessions will be kept small for a start, and with safe distancing measures in place. Since Phase One, Senior Activity Centres and Community Resource, Engagement and Support Team (CREST) providers have progressively resumed some individual activities on-site to address seniors’ psychosocial needs, with restrictions on duration and total number of persons per session. From Phase Two, we will ease these restrictions to allow more seniors to benefit from these programmes, so long as safe distancing measures are in place.
More eldercare services resume
4. We will also resume day care services at most Senior Care Centres and Active Ageing Hubs on 29 June 2020, to support seniors and their caregivers who have to return to work in Phase Two. Providers will contact clients and their caregivers to make the necessary arrangements to return to the centre. All care staff will be tested for COVID-19 before resumption of day care services. We have tested more than 3,600 staff of non-residential community care services so far, and all results were negative. This complements other measures such as safe distancing, limiting group interactions, and ensuring good infection control practices such as hand hygiene and wearing of masks, which providers will continue to enforce to give clients and their caregivers peace of mind.
Face-to-face visitations at residential care homes may resume
5. We recognise that it has been a difficult period for family members and caregivers who wish to visit their loved ones at nursing homes. Visits will resume gradually and cautiously in Phase Two, starting from 19 Jun. All nursing homes will need to put in place additional precautionary measures to protect their residents, such as setting aside dedicated visitation areas or safe distancing precautions, and some would only start receiving visitors later after ensuring that these measures are properly implemented. We would like to appeal to family members for their patience and understanding.
6. To minimise the risk of infection within the nursing homes, each resident will be allowed a total of two designated visitors, and only one may visit each day, with each visit limited to 30 minutes. Visitors will be screened prior to entry, and should not visit if unwell. In addition, the total number of visitors allowed each day in a home will also be capped through appointments, especially during the initial period, including the coming weekend of 20 June to 21 June. Caregivers are thus encouraged to work with the nursing homes to make appointments in advance, and to visit over the following weeks, instead of rushing to visit over the coming weekend. We will review these visitor management measures in the coming weeks, and may adjust accordingly, depending on the risk of community transmission.
Steady steps towards a new normal
7. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, with the aim of continuing to ease measures until we reach a new normal in Phase Three. We all have a role to play to make this happen. If we stay disciplined and adhere to the safe management measures, we will be able to take steady steps forward, and resume the activities we enjoy.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
17 JUNE 2020