On 21st February 2020, a total of 113 leader representatives from various Chinese clan and cultural member bodies attended a dialogue session organised by Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA). Guest speaker, Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong, shared with participants the latest developments of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Singapore and precautionary measures which all should practise.

The dialogue session with Minister Gan attracted a total of 113  leader representatives from various Chinese clan and cultural member bodies

Joining Guest Speaker Minister Gan (centre) in the panel were Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development Ms Sun Xueling (left) and President of SFCCA Mr Tan Aik Hock (right)

During the dialogue session, Minister Gan provided some background information on COVID-19. He shared that coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses causing illnesses ranging from common cold to pneumonia (more severe lung infection) such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Minister Gan provided the participants with a deeper understanding of COVID-19 through his comprehensive sharing on COVID-19

COVID-19 is a virus which is transmitted by droplets (by coughing and sneezing), through close contact with an infected person, or by touching an object/ surface with the virus on it, then touching eyes, nose or mouth. Hence, Minister Gan reiterated and emphasised during the dialogue session the importance of practising good personal hygiene as a form of precaution. The public should adopt the following at all times: frequent hand washing with soap, covering mouth with tissue paper with coughing or sneezing, and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.

Minister Gan shared that in this global battle against COVID-19, apart from working closely with countries, the Singapore government has implemented a series of measures to protect the people against the coronavirus. On 7th February 2020, the government stepped up its risk assessment to Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Orange and subsequently activated general practitioner clinics across the island, where people with respiratory symptoms can receive subsidised treatment and medication, as part of the Ministry of Health’s network of designated Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs). Citizens and Permanent Residents will pay a flat rate of $10 for consultation and treatment at these clinics, while the Pioneer and Merdeka Generation Singaporeans will pay $5. Doctors at all clinic were also advised to give five days of sick leave to patients with respiratory symptoms to make sure they have ample time to rest and recuperate.

Minister Gan emphasised that everyone in Singapore has to be socially responsible and take good care of ourselves and our loved ones. Besides practising good personal hygiene, one should seek medical attention prompty and rest at home when feeling unwell. Also, he encouraged employers to get the latest updates on COVID-19 through the government’s official channels and to step up precautionary measures like conducting regular temperature-taking, encouraging employees to practise good personal hygiene and to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events.

Lastly, Minister Gan advised all to get the latest updates on COVID-19 by signing up for the Gov.sg WhatsApp channel (www.go.gov.sg/whatsapp) or at the MOH website (www.moh.gov.sg), and not to speculate or spread unfounded rumours which will lead to panic among the public.

Before the dialogue came to a close,  participants asked questions during the Q&A segment

Photos:    FB.com/pg/SG.SFCCA/photos/?tab=album&album_id=3020282034657814