1. Covid

Covid-19: Kick the coronavirus in the ass with these tips

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The coronavirus outbreak has been unreservedly spreading through communities and countries alike, causing widespread panic and anxiety across the world. The World Health Organization has recently classified the Covid-19 as a pandemic – the first ever sparked by a coronavirus, prompting countries and cities to go into complete lockdown.

In Singapore, our fight against the coronavirus also enters a more severe phase amidst rising Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic, our government has been putting in place measures progressively to slow down the spread of the virus.

From March 26 till April 30, here are the new mandates about to roll out in the latest efforts to contain the pandemic: [1]

  • Bars, cinemas and all entertainment outlets (KTV, karaoke lounges, clubs etc) are to be closed
  • All tuition centres and classes are to be suspended
  • All religious services (at churches, temples, etc) are to be suspended
  • Malls, F&B establishments and other places which remain open are to implement will safe distancing measures and limit the space to a given number of people at one time
  • All events and mass gatherings regardless of size should be cancelled or deferred
  • A 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) is mandatory for all Singaporeans returning from Britain and the US
  • Singaporeans should refrain from travelling in this period of time. Should you continue with your travel plans, you would have to pay full hospital charges (without any subsidies/without being able to use Medisave) if you get warded for coronavirus after returning.

At a press conference on the coronavirus, Minister Lawrence Wong also advised Singaporeans to “stay at home as much as you can, and go out if you need to work, go to school, go out for essential tasks – but otherwise stay at home, reduce your social gatherings and all activities for the next one month.” [2]

As of 24 March 2020, the Ministry of Health has reported a total of 558 cases of coronavirus, a majority of which are imported.

“Here’s the low-down on the Stay Home Notice (SHN)”

Travelling during this period would automatically subject you to a mandatory 14-day SHN.

First implemented on January 31, 2020 for all Singaporeans returning from mainland China, the Stay Home Notice (SHN) measure has helped to reduce the risk of community spread within Singapore.

Since then, the SHN measure has been implemented more widely to include more countries such as South Korea, Iran, Italy, Britain and US, in addition to China.

Currently, the mandate has been updated for ALL Singaporean and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore to be issued a 14-day SHN, regardless of country travelled to. Further, returnees from the UK and US will have to serve their 14-day SHN in dedicated facilities. [3]

If you have been issued a 14-day SHN, here is a brief recap of the rules to follow: [4]

  1. Remain at home at all times, i.e. you should NOT leave your residence at all for the whole 14-day period. You could use home delivery services for your meals but you basically shouldn’t be stepping out of your home.
  2. You should NOT be using any common facilities in the estate, including the pool, gym or playground. (Rule #1 already forbids you to do this anyway)
  3. You should NOT be interacting closely or sharing food with the people you’re living with, especially the vulnerable elderly (aged above 60)
  4. You should be conscious of your personal hygiene, i.e. washing your hands with soap and water frequently, flushing the toilet after use, etc.
  5. You should check for COVID-19 symptoms, i.e. fever, respiratory problems such as cough and breathlessness.

The current penalties for breach of SHN are a fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail-term of up to six months.

“Scratching that travelling itch can wait”

Singaporeans and businesses alike have been advised to defer all travel abroad to reduce risk of coronavirus importation. [5]

If you decide to continue with non-essential travel plans, you’ll face a 14-day mandatory SHN which you’ll have to take out of your own leave and should you get warded for the coronavirus upon returning, you’ll have to pay full, unsubsidized charges at both public and private hospitals.

“How to see a doctor at your nearest PHPC”

GPs and polyclinics under the PHPC scheme carry PHPC decals: Pic credit.

To date, there’re about 940 GP clinics designated as PHPCs, which will provide subsidized treatment for those with respiratory symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose. You can easily search for one via https://www.flugowhere.gov.sg/. [6]

The purpose of having the PHPC scheme is to allow earlier detection for public health emergencies (e.g. influenza, coronavirus, etc) and reduce the rate of transmission. Clinics under the scheme will also be provided with logistical support from MOH, and this includes personal protective equipment like masks etc as well as vaccines and medicinal supplies from the national stockpile.

Subsidised consultation charges for respiratory symptoms at PHPCs
Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) S$10
Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors S$5

5 days of MC will be given to patients showing respiratory symptoms.

If conditions do not improve after 5 days, patients are advised to see the same doctor and refrain from doctor hopping. This will help to minimize spread and reduce contact tracing work. If doctors suspect a case of coronavirus, they may then refer patients to hospitals for further testing.

“Handy tips to battle the virus”

A simple thing like washing your hands more frequently can help curb the virus.

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the world at scale, it’s inevitable that stress and anxiety levels are heightened. Amidst the fear and worry, we can still choose to help, support and lift one another, or we can choose to selfishly hoard, take advantage and profit off the situation. We can choose to be patient, or we can cave in to panic.

After all, there is no use panicking over what you cannot control. But here’s what you can control and can do to help yourself and humankind right now:

  • Definitely stay home if you feel the slightest bit unwell and see a doctor at your nearest PHPC to get it checked out
  • Wear a mask if you feel unwell
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water; use a hand sanitizer if you’re out and about
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you sneeze or cough, even if you feel well. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your face – in particular, your eyes, nose and mouth – to prevent the virus from entering your body
  • Avoid eating sashimi, salads and other raw foods outside for now
  • Avoid crowded places and just stay home if you can
  • Avoid travelling for now of course
  • Take care of your body and boost your immune system by eating more leafy greens, fruits and getting enough exercise and sleep

Also read: Top 10 questions about COVID-19 – answers by experts compiled!

Together, we can spread the word and spread kindness, not the virus. Let’s kick the coronavirus in the ass and end the pandemic as quickly as we can, whaddya say?

References

1. Chang, A. L. (2020). Coronavirus: All entertainment venues in Singapore to close, gatherings outside work and school limited to 10 people. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/all-entertainment-venues-in-singapore-to-close-gatherings-outside-work-and-school

2. Wong, L. (2020). Press Conference on COVID-19 at National Press Centre on 24 March 2020. Retrieved from https://www.sgpc.gov.sg/sgpcmedia/media_releases/mnd/speech/S-20200324-1/attachment/Remarks_MinisterLawrenceWong_COVID19PressConference_24Mar2020REV.pdf

3. Ministry of Health (2020). Promulgation of regulations under Infectious Disease Act. Retrieved from https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/promulgation-of-regulations-under-infectious-diseases-act

4. Ministry of Health (2020). Health advisory for persons issued stay-home notice. Retrieved from https://www.moh.gov.sg/docs/librariesprovider5/default-document-library/moh-health-advisory-for-persons-issued-stay-home-notice-(25-mar-2020-2050h).pdf

5. Yang, C. (2020). Singaporeans advised to defer all non-essential travel for next 30 days, as part of new Covid-19 measures. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-residents-advised-to-defer-all-non-essential-travel-for-next-30-days-as-part-of

6. Gov.sg (2020). Flu Go Where. Retrieved from https://www.flugowhere.gov.sg/.

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