Here is the ninth issue of our special SDG Dispatch communication regarding the current virus situation.
In the past few days, we have been seeing that the number of new covid-19 cases have been in the range of 1,000 and more. There has been an almost exponential increase in the number of cases since we have started the circuit breaker measures on 7 April 2020.
Q: Why was the circuit breaker period extended?
Though majority of the cases were made up by foreign workers residing in the dormitories, experts have shared that with the circuit breaker measures implemented, the number of new cases in the community should be even lower. This means that there have been people who are supposed to be home but still heading out without taking necessary precautions or there are essential workers who are still working and getting infected in the process.
Therefore, there has been an extension of the circuit breaker period till 1 June 2020 and the definition of essential services which are allowed to remain operational have been tightened.
There will be some adjustments that we need to make and these will be for the greater good, to protect your families and others’ too.
Is Singapore’s healthcare system able to cope?
A short answer will be, yes for now. While more than 2,000 hospital beds in the public sector have been freed up, the acute hospital beds are being filled up rapidly due to the large number of people being infected. Private hospitals (about 1,600 beds) and community hospitals (about 2,000 beds) are also used to care for COVID-19 patients and recovering patients respectively.
Based on statistics, four out of five covid-19 patients usually get mildly sick and only a very small portion of patients become critically ill (those that have pre-existing conditions or higher risk factors as covered in SDG Dispatch, Issue 004). Therefore in terms of hospital beds, Singapore’s healthcare system seems to be strained but coping still.
As for manpower, it is definitely stretched as medical care needs to be provided to foreign workers in the dormitories as well as other locations that they have been moved out to. There have been calls for doctors/dentists and healthcare assistants to join hands in testing and treating foreign workers. With more support from a larger pool of healthcare workers, it will definitely help to alleviate the manpower stretch.