Following media enquiries regarding one of the Isolation wards at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) as not meeting the required standard to isolate COVID-19 patients, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is pleased to provide an update to this enquiry as it is important that truthful, accurate, complete and up to date information is disseminated to the public especially at this time of the state of emergency.
As part of MHMS’s preparedness to contain and control any spread of COVID-19 in the event that we have a positive case, two buildings within NRH have been repurposed and assigned for COVID-19 isolation wards, ward 1 and 2.
This decision to repurpose the buildings is due to the urgency for an isolation ward, a key component in the health preparedness and response plan; as such they were reconfigured to meet COVID-19 Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) requirements.
Ward 1 is the primary isolation ward which means that should we have a case or a number of COVID-19 cases today, all will be isolated at Ward 1. Ward 2 on the other hand is a backup to ward 1 should the number of COVID-19 patients exceed the capacity of ward 1.
With this, MHMS is pleased to inform that isolation ward 1 is completed and meets the COVID-19 IPC requirements, which essentially means it is ready and safe for use. Isolation ward 2 is also completed however some minor alterations with very specific technicalities is needed in order that it meets the IPC requirement to ensure work safety.
Work to address this is ongoing and the MHMS is doing all means possible.
With this, it must be noted that repurposing a building initially intended for other use to a COVID-19 isolation ward and ensuring that it meets IPC requirements is challenging but what’s achieved in the past few months is something we should all be proud of.
In the medium to long term, the National Health Emergency Operation Centre and National Referral Hospital Executive have prepared a submission for an Acute Infectious Diseases Precinct.
MHMS would like to acknowledge the media for reaching out to us for an explanation and update in this regard.