Singapore’s many abbreviations and acronyms for healthcare procedures related to Covid-19 can be like “alphabet soup”, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Oct 2, as he noted that some guidelines were designed at a time when Singapore was trying to stamp out every cluster, and will now need to be streamlined.
The protocols can be complex and even frustrating to the man on the street, which is an issue that must be addressed, he said.
Here’s a look at some of the more common abbreviations.
ARI: Acute respiratory infection, with symptoms such as fever, cough, or runny nose. Those who go to a doctor with these symptoms will be asked to take a test for Covid-19.
ART: Antigen rapid testing, a D-I-Y kit with results that can be ready in less than 20 minutes.
CB: Circuit breaker from April 7 to June 1 last year, where only essential activities were allowed and people were encouraged to stay home as much as possible.
CCF: Community care facilities, to house those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are generally well but for various reasons need to be isolated from the rest of the family.
CTF: Covid-19 treatment facilities, which have the medical capabilities and resources, including oxygen supplementation, to safely manage patients who may be at risk of developing severe illness.
HA: Heightened Alert – Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) was in place from May 16 to June 13, with tighter measures like no dining in.
HBL: Home-based learning, which students and pupils had to do when schools were closed and classes went online.
HRA: Health Risk Alert, an SMS from the authorities that you have had possible exposure to a Covid-19 positive person. Persons who receive an HRA should test themselves using ARTs and monitor their own health closely.
HRP: Home Recovery Programme, for those who are Covid-19 positive but have no or mild symptoms. Over half of Covid-19 patients are now at home.
HRW: Health Risk Warning, an SMS to say you are a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case, or have been in close proximity with a confirmed case for an extended period of time. Such persons will need to have a PCR test within 48 hours and isolate themselves.
ICU: Intensive care unit, where about 0.2 per cent of Covid-19 cases go when they become critically ill.
MTF: Multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, set up early last year to coordinate measures across ministries and agencies.
PCR: Polymerase chain reaction tests, the gold standard for diagnosing Covid-19, with a turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours.
PET: Pre-event testing, undergone by a participant or patron wishing to enter a venue where selected events, businesses, or activities are being held.
PHPC: Public Health Preparedness Clinics are general practices that care for those with respiratory symptoms. They will provide subsidised treatment, investigation, and medications.
QO: Quarantine Order, which will come by SMS from the Ministry of Health to anyone who has had close contact with a Covid-19 patient and thus may be a carrier of the virus.
RRT: Rostered routine testing, which applies to workers in higher risk settings such as at the country’s borders, the construction, marine and process sectors, as well those living in high density environments such as dorms.
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RSC: Regional screening centre, set up around Singapore to carry out Covid-19 swab tests for target groups in the general community.
SASH: Swab and Send Home clinics, where GPs can perform swab tests for Covid-19.
SHN: Stay-home notice requiring travellers to be isolated at dedicated facilities or a place of residence.
SMM: Safe management measures, such as keeping 1m apart from each other to curb the spread of Covid-19.
VTL: Vaccinated Travel Lane, which facilitates fully vaccinated persons to travel into Singapore under reduced border measures.
WFH: Work from home, which people should do where possible to curb workplace transmission of Covid-19.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.