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Stay home for Chinese New Year if you're feeling unwell, COVID-19 task force co-chairs advise

In a joint message with Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung urged people who are not feeling well to avoid going out even if they test negative for the virus.

Stay home for Chinese New Year if you're feeling unwell, COVID-19 task force co-chairs advise

A visitor takes pictures of the God of Fortune lantern figurine for Chinese New Year celebrations at the Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove in Singapore on Jan 18, 2022. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Ahead of the Chinese New Year festive period, two of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force co-chairs have urged people to avoid going out if they are not feeling well, and even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

In a joint message with Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Singapore is experiencing an Omicron wave, with cases expected to "rise sharply".

"If you're not feeling well, please do not go out. You can always meet with your family and friends virtually online," said Mr Wong in a Facebook video.

"Don't even test negative and go out. Just don't go out because you may still infect them," added Mr Ong.

The ministers also urged people to follow COVID-19 safe management measures, which remain unchanged for the Chinese New Year period.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said last week that the maximum group size allowed for social gatherings is still five, as is the limit for the number of unique visitors allowed for each household per day.

MOH had also advised people to consider taking antigen rapid tests before visiting others, especially if seniors or unvaccinated people were around.

This was echoed by Mr Ong in the video, who added that this vulnerable group includes people with serious illnesses such as diabetes or cancer.

"If we all do our part and exercise personal responsibility, we can have a meaningful and safe new year celebration," said Mr Wong.


Separately, MOH said in a press release on Saturday that almost 1,000 general practitioner (GP) clinics will stay open at various times during the Chinese New Year period from Jan 31 to Feb 2. 

Feb 1 and Feb 2 are public holidays.

Of the 988 GP clinics that will be open, 523 are Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs). Such clinics provide subsidised treatment, investigation and medications for those with respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose.

A total of 324 selected PHPCs will be able to provide COVID-19 swabs during the Chinese New Year period, said MOH. Eleven Combined Test Centres (CTCs) across Singapore will also continue to operate and take in patients who have been referred for a COVID-19 swab by their doctor.

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Source: CNA/ac(gs)