PHPC? SHN? LOA? Refer To Our COVID-19 Glossary So You Won't Go OMG
STORY: Farhan Shafie
21 February 2020
Ever since the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) outbreak, the media has been flooded with information (or misinformation, in some cases) about the disease. Whether it's the latest case count or the numerous health advisories, there is a lot to absorb.
If that's not enough, there's the multitude of acronyms that seem to pop up every few days as well (we know Singaporeans LOVE their acronyms). But fear not, we've compiled a COVID-19 glossary for you to keep track of it all.
COVID-19 stands for "Corona Virus Disease 2019". “Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO (World Health Organization). “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.” The WHO referenced guidelines set in 2015 that ensure the name does not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, while still being pronounceable and related to the disease.
DORSCON stands for "Disease Outbreak Response System Condition", a colour-coded framework that shows the current disease situation (pictured above). The framework provides general guidelines on what needs to be done to prevent and reduce the impact of infections. Currently, the status is Orange which means while COVID-19 is severe and can spread easily, it is still contained. To learn more about the various DORSCON colour codes, check out our article "What You Should Know About The DORSCON Colour Code And The Current Disease Situation".
LOA stands for "Leave Of Absence". The Singapore government previously issued a 14-day leave of absence (LOA) for all travellers who are Singaporeans or long-term pass holders returning from mainland China (outside of Hubei). This precautionary measure was implemented to reduce the risk of community spread of the virus within the country.
MMMMM (not an official acronym, but a useful one) stands for "the 5 M's that MOH has come up with for us to stay safe during DORSCON Orange" (pictured above):
1) Manage my health by keeping a close watch on my body for symptoms;
2) Maintain clean hands through good personal hygiene of regular hand washing with soap and water;
3) Minimise contact with those who are unwell;
4) Mask up when unwell and visit the doctor immediately;
5) Monitor the news with moh.gov.sg and Gov.sg WhatsApp.
MOH stands for Singapore's "Ministry of Health", the government body that manages Singapore's public healthcare system. Their role is absolutely critical in containing the virus outbreak, from providing up-to-date case counts to contact tracing that prevents further spread of the disease. With so much fake news circling around these days, the MOH website will be the most trusted outlet to get the latest updates on the situation.
NCID stands for "National Centre for Infectious Diseases" (pictured above), which has been the first line of defence in the fight against COVID-19. Located beside Tan Tock Seng Hospital, it is 330-bed purpose-built facility designed to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in infectious disease management and prevention. It also boasts the country's first high level isolation unit for highly contagious, or even lethal diseases. Thanks to the tireless work of the healthcare professionals at the centre, 37 patients infected with the virus have discharged as of 20th February, 2020.
NEA stands for "National Environmental Agency", the leading public organisation responsible for ensuring Singapore's clean environment (pictured above). With the outbreak of COVID-19, its role in maintaining public spaces becomes even more crucial. NEA has also developed advisories and guidelines to help owners or operators of non-healthcare premises carry out environmental cleaning.
PHPC stands for "Public Health Preparedness Clinic". A PHPC provides subsidised treatments for patients with respiratory symptoms. If you have pneumonia, you will be referred to the hospital. Otherwise, you will receive a 5-day MC. If you do, please stay at home. There are more than 500 general practitioner clinics designated as PHPCs. Go to phpc.gov.sg to find one close to you. Singapore citizens and permanent residents pay a subsidised flat rate of $10 for consultation and treatment of the condition while Pioneer and Merdeka Generation seniors will only have to pay $5. These subsidised rates extend to polyclinics as well.
SHN stands for "Stay Home Notice". The Multi-Ministry Taskforce felt the need to enhance LOA measures and decided to introduce a new "Stay-Home Notice" (SHN) for Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from Mainland China (outside Hubei. With effect from 18 Feb 2020, they will have to stay home at all times for 14 days upon their return and monitor their health while minimising contact with others. Those who flout the SHN may face severe penalties and persecution (yikes!) under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act. Do not test your luck!
WHO stands for "World Health Organization" (pictured above), which was established on 7 April 1948 - a date which WHO celebrates every year as World Health Day. WHO comprises more than 7,000 people working in 150 country offices, in six regional offices and at their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Find out more about COVID-19 and the latest updates from WHO here.
WFH stands for "Work From Home". More and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home in light of the situation, so much so that WFH has become the new, cool acronym being name-dropped all over social media by friends and colleagues. But like everything else, there are pros and cons to this. Check out our article on "Things HR Never Says About Working From Home (Or Prefers Not To)".