Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore, a set of measures has been implemented to increase social distancing. Among these measures are “non-urgent” healthcare services (such as outpatient rehab, elective procedures, TCM which have been asked to stop, potentially making patients who rely on these services vulnerable to a deterioration of their conditions. Cognisant of the fact, the Singapore government has re-classified these services as “essential” with effective from 29 April 2020 and they are allowed to operate since 5 May.

To better understand the impact of COVID-19 and to minimize the knock-on effect on Singapore health system, a research team led by Professor Marcus Ong from Duke-NUS Med ical Schoolis evaluating proposals that will use local data and computer simulation techniques. Their results will shape not only current policy decisions but also transform future ones.

The research team intends to (i) evaluate the impact of policies on health systems estimating overall deaths and admission, and the complications and length of stay in healthcare facilities, (ii) understand the infectious disease effects on various high-risk population subgroups, (iii) assess actual health services utilisation due to COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 conditions, including the costs of care and (iv) evaluate policy experiments, through a series of computer simulations of potential scenarios (under control, difficult to control, generalised epidemic).

Among the various other consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health and psychosocial issues have most often been mentioned with people experiencing difficulties to cope with the stress generated by the outbreak. The recent research from the Huaibei Normal University in China, the National University Health System and National University of Singapore was among the first to describe the immediate psychological responses and associated factors of COVID-19 on the general population in China. The studies show that 53.8% of respondents assessed the psychological impact of the outbreak as moderate or severe. The results also indicate that the negative impact is somewhat mitigated by specific up-to-date and accurate health information (e.g., treatment, local outbreak situation) and precautionary measures (e.g. hand hygiene, mask wearing) which are associated with a lower psychological impact of the outbreak and levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05).


Reference: J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 6 mars 2020