Covid: Singapore set to start charging Covid patients who are ‘unvaccinated by choice’

Credit: AP

Singapore is to stop paying Covid-19 medical bills for people who choose to remain unvaccinated, the country's health ministry has announced.

Under current rules, the government pays the full coronavirus medical bills for all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term visa holders, other than for those who tested positive soon after returning from overseas travel.

But the health ministry has said in a statement that from December 8 they will begin "charging Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice".

"This will apply to all unvaccinated Covid-19 patients admitted on or after December 8 2021 to hospitals and Covid-19 Treatment Facilities," the health ministry stated.

"Covid-19 medical bills for those who are ineligible for vaccination will still be fully paid for by the government, i.e. children under 12 years old or medically ineligible persons."

Individuals who are partially vaccinated will also still be paid for until December 31, giving them time to get fully vaccinated.

The statement added that unvaccinated people make up a significant majority of those who need intensive in-patient care and are disproportionately adding to pressures on healthcare resources.

Singapore - a wealthy south-east Asian nation of around 5.5 million people- has among the highest coverage rates in the world, with 85% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, according to reports.

However, Singapore's ministry of health said on Monday that cases have remained at more than 3,000 a day on average.

A man wearing a face mask uses a thermal scanner before entering a building in Singapore. Credit: AP

On November 8, the country reported 2,470 new cases over the previous 24 hour period and 14 deaths from complications due to coronavirus infection.

The health ministry confirmed that 67 Covid cases were critically ill in intensive care.

Authorities said that close to 99% of cases continue to have mild or no symptoms and the vast majority of those infected are able to recover well at home.

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