In the early morning of 25 November 2021, Dr Wei was about to leave home for work when he was informed that the entire residential complex had to go into immediate lockdown as a visitor had tested positive for COVID-19. Residents from the affected block were told to stay within their apartments while others like Dr Wei were allowed to go outside as long as they remained within the residential compound.
Although the residents’ daily essentials were taken care of by the authorities, there were residents such as Dr Wei who felt they could provide voluntary support during the lockdown. In his capacity as a doctor, he provided guidance in administering COVID-19 nucleic acid tests and gave free medical consultations and counselling to residents. Proficient in English, he was also a translator for foreigners who made up close to half the residential population.
During this period, Dr Wei continued to care for his existing patients, especially those with chronic illnesses, via teleconsultation with technical support from our China IT team.
Working 8-hour volunteer shifts was tiring but rewarding. Recalling the final routine COVID-19 test that had to be done after midnight, he said: “By the time we completed the tests for all the residents, it was already 3am. But it was all worth it because we quickly got the all-clear and managed to end the lockdown earlier on that very day.”
For their strong community spirit, the volunteers were recognised on national television by the Secretary of the Pudong District Committee Weng Zuliang.
Said Dr Wei: “It was a proud and memorable moment! I’m glad to be able to use my skills to help others while getting to know my community and neighbours better. Coincidentally, it was through this lockdown that I realised a regular patient of mine lives in the same complex too!”
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On 9 November, Singapore’s Heath Minister Ong Ye Kung paid a visit to Mount Elizabeth Hospital to recognise and appreciate our staff for their hard work, dedication and sacrifice throughout the ongoing crisis.
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