The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that 23 new Covid-19 cases, a new high in Singapore, yesterday (17 Mar). Of these, 17 were imported cases, 2 were linked to previous ones and 4 presently has no link to any.

And of the 17 imported cases, the bulk (13) came from returning residents like Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, Long Term Visit Pass or Work Pass holders, who are coming back from infected countries. However, 4 were from foreigners on short-term visit visa:

Case 246 – 39-year-old male Canadian national who had been in Japan from 23 Feb to 7 Mar. Two days later in Singapore, he reported onset of symptoms on 9 Mar. However, he only presented himself at the emergency department of SGH on 15 Mar. His test results the next day confirmed that he has been infected with Covid-19 virus.

Case 258 – 47-year-old male Indian national who had been in Europe from 9 Feb to 15 Mar. He was confirmed to have Covid-19 infection on 17 Mar. It’s not known if he already has the symptoms before arriving in Singapore.

Case 262 – 20-year-old female Indonesian national, who had been in the United Kingdom from late Jan to 16 Mar. She was confirmed to have Covid-19 infection on 17 Mar. (Even though MOH did not release more details about this case, it is surmised that she likely presented herself at a local hospital on the same day she arrived in Singapore on 16 Mar before she was confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19 the next day. There is a 1-day turnaround for hospitals to test and confirm a Covid-19 infection.)

Case 264 – 41-year-old female Indonesian national who arrived in Singapore on 16 March. Again, she was confirmed to have Covid-19 infection on 17 Mar. (No other details were given by MOH. And again, with the person able to get confirmation of Covid-19 infection just 1 day after arriving in Singapore, it can only be surmised that she must have presented herself at a local hospital upon arriving in Singapore.)

Previously, it has already been reported that Indonesians with Covid-19 symptoms were already admitting themselves into local hospitals immediately upon arrival in Singapore (‘More Indonesians carrying Covid-19 virus arriving to seek treatments in Singapore hospitals‘, 13 Mar). That is to say, they came all the way to Singapore knowing that they are unwell.

In any case, starting from Mon midnight (16 Mar), all short-term visitors from ASEAN countries will have to submit information on their health to the Singapore Overseas Mission in the country they are a resident of before coming to Singapore.

The submission will have to be approved by Singapore’s MOH before travel, and the approval will be verified by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Singapore checkpoints, MOH said.

It’s not known how ICA officers are going to verify the health conditions of these ASEAN visitors, since fever can be suppressed by taking Panadol tablets.

Indonesian hospitals rejecting Covid-19 cases

Just yesterday (17 March), one of Indonesia’s entertainers Deddy Corbuzier uploaded a broadcast interview with a spokesperson from the Indonesian government on his Instagram, covering on the country’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak.

During the interview, Director General of Disease Prevention and Control (P2P) Achmad Yurianto said that Indonesia is aware that some hospitals would want to maintain their image so they do not accept patients who are confirmed to be infected with Covid-19.

“Because they are afraid that other patients won’t come to their hospital if they find out that the hospital treats patients with Covid-19,” Mr Yurianto said.

Mr Yurianto said that the government never revealed the name of hospitals which will receive Covid-19 patients because many hospitals decline to treat such cases.

He added, “Except for Rumah Sakit Sulianti Saroso and Rumah Sakit Persahabatan. Because their destiny is like that, becoming a referral hospital. And I don’t want to cover it up since the very beginning.”

When asked whether it is illegal for the hospitals to reject the case, Mr Yurianto mentioned that the hospitals can reject the patients as long as they have clear reasons and have referred the patients to other hospital(s) equipped with coronavirus treatment facilities.

On top of mishandling the cases of Covid-19, Mr Yurianto noted that they will discuss with the hospital association on giving a yellow card to those hospitals, and if the conditions still do not improve, the hospitals will be receiving a red card.

“What we know now is that the hospital no longer has a social mission. Hospitals are open for business,” he asserted.

A woman believed to be from Indonesia also shared her own experience on video, of being declined by a hospital in Indonesia while she has been categorised as a patient under surveillance (PDP) of Covid-19.

Claiming herself as a PDP, the woman said that the hospital she visited released her and recommended that she go to one of the other major hospitals without supervision.

She noted that this may lead to serious consequences if the patient chooses to not visit the appointed hospital and goes home instead, which will end up potentially exposing to others because the patient thinks that he or she is fine.

The woman then pointed out that a PDP should not be able to go abroad and need to be isolated or placed in quarantine while waiting for the coronavirus testing.

What’s more, she added that the hospital had asked her to find another hospital without providing an ambulance or supervision.

“What if I don’t feel like going? Or if I prefer to just go home? But at the same time, I am really infected by the virus. Can you imagine how bad it would be?” she said in the video.

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