For the past two months, in-person visits to hospitals and care homes were suspended due to the Omicron wave. It was first suspended on January 24 for an apparent four weeks in order to protect the health of both patients and healthcare workers. However, after four weeks, it was extended again till March 20 and then till April 3. Due to the decrease in COVID-19 cases just yesterday (March 31), the Ministry of Health has decided to allow in-person visitors again! This will start next week Monday on April 4.
Eligibility For Visitors
In order to visit your loved ones in the hospital or care home, you will have to be fully vaccinated. Furthermore, hospitals and care homes are allowed flexibility in terms of setting visitor policies on a case-to-case basis. However, if you’re medically ineligible for the vaccine, you will also be allowed to visit. But you will need to show a negative antigen rapid test (ART) result within 24 hours of your visit. The ART must be done by MOH approved test providers, which means self-tests will not be accepted. For fully vaccinated individuals, it is advised to take a self-test before your visit. This is for the safety of your loved ones and for everyone else.
For each admission, each patient can register up to two visitors. On the other hand, critically sick patients will be allowed five registered visits. Nevertheless, only two visitors will be allowed at the bedside at any given time. This is done to ensure safe distancing and to reduce overcrowding in the wards.
If you’re planning to visit a patient in the hospital, you must adhere to the hospital’s visiting hours. However, if you’re planning to stay longer than the set visiting hours, you will need to undergo an ART. Furthermore, your test results will need to be negative.
Lastly, all visitors must wear masks at all times. The masks must also provide good filtration, and you can choose to wear surgical masks or reusable masks with at least two layers.
Care Home Visits
In terms of care home visits, every fully vaccinated resident can have up to four guests per visit. However, the visit is only limited to 30 minutes at a time. Furthermore, visitors must also be fully vaccinated (unless medically unable to get the vaccine). The MOH also stresses that visitors should comply with the care home’s safe management measures (SMMs). This will help to protect the resident and all other residents at the care home.
Nevertheless, if the care home is dealing with active COVID cases, visits will need to be suspended until the cases resolve. As the situation evolves in the upcoming weeks, MOH will review and regulate these measures.
“We understand the past months have been difficult for patients/residents, and their family members and loved ones as in-person visits were suspended, and thank everyone for their understanding. We seek their continued cooperation to comply with the SMMs to keep patients/ residents safe as in-person visits are resumed,” says the Singapore Ministry of Health.