Singapore Expo, the city’s largest convention center known for hosting major events is being refitted into a temporary home for COVID-19 patients.
Photos circulating online since yesterday show rows of door-less white cubicles arranged neatly throughout one of the 100,000sqm venue’s event halls, with a separate row fixed with curtains for those needing privacy. A few sofas scattered can be seen between the rows for some awkward mingling.
Announced Sunday by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, it will become Singapore’s second so-called Community Isolation Facility following the conversion of a family resort in Pasir Ris. The facility is meant to house COVID-19 patients whose conditions are not serious. Medical workers will be present to observe them.
It was not said how many patients the facility would be able to accommodate, nor when it would officially begin receiving them.
“This is called a Community Isolation Facility – free to mingle among themselves as they would have built up their antibodies against further infection, but must still be isolated from [non-patients because] they may be still be infectious,” Ho Ching, the prime minister’s wife, wrote on Facebook yesterday.
“Cubicles for privacy when they need, and common interaction areas if they want to relax and not feel so cooped up. Not 5-star cruise ship standard but decent enough. Am told they are much better than 3-star,” she added.
Singapore has reported 1,481 cases as of today, of which 471 of them are recovering or require limited care. Such patients are transferred to either private hospitals like the Concord International Hospital and the Mount Elizabeth Hospital or the D’Resort NTUC in Pasir Ris in order to free up beds at public hospitals.
Singaporean activist Gilbert Goh shared more photos of the facility online yesterday, showing a closer look of the place that once hosted major events like a recent talk with former United States first lady Michelle Obama.
“Photos just received from a source on the Expo Changi being converted into a quarantine quarter. It also revealed the possible devastating effects of Covid-19 virus on our small island state,” Goh’s post read.
This is the first time in history that the venue is being repurposed, according to a Monday statement on the Singapore Expo’s Facebook page.
“As a [Community Isolation Facility], it will be a restricted area with secure entry points for on-site operational staff cleared for access,” it said.
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