SINGAPORE, June 21 — From Monday (June 21), those visiting critically ill patients at hospitals will be among a select group of people who may be allowed to stay for more than 20 minutes, but they will be required to undergo a Covid-19 antigen rapid test (ART).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in response to TODAY’s queries that as part of measures to mitigate any risk of infection within healthcare institutions, currently every visit at public and private healthcare institutions should not last more than 20 minutes.
From Monday, however, hospitals may allow for “selected extension of visitation time under extenuating circumstances” for the following groups of visitors:
Those visiting critically ill patients
Those visiting patients requiring additional care support, patients lacking mental capacity, or the visitors are involved in caregiver training
Mothers who are giving birth or have given birth
Visitors who are eligible for extension of their visits must undergo an ART on-site before approval for the extended visit is given, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not, MOH said.
Visitors can only use test kits provided by hospitals.
The ART may be administered by hospital staff, or done by patients as a self-swab under the supervision of hospital staff.
“ART testing for visitors to subsidised wards will be funded by MOH. The ART test result will be valid for 24 hours,” the health ministry said.
The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and Changi General Hospital will begin implementing these measures on Monday.
SGH said on its website that visitors must test negative before they are allowed entry.
Alternatively, visitors may show the result of their polymerase chain reaction test taken in the last 24 hours.
Visitors who do not stay longer than 20 minutes are not required to go for the ART, SGH added.
All hospitals under the National University Health System — the National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Alexandra Hospital — will implement the measures from Tuesday. — TODAY