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Our COVID19 Stories


On 23 January 2020, Singapore General Hospital was thrust into a long and wearying battle when it confirmed the first case of the then emerging coronavirus infection on our shores. Steeled by lessons of the past, staff battled the uncertainties of the novel virus, even when they unexpectedly had to take the fight outside hospital walls. These are their stories as the crisis unfolded.


On 23 January 2020, the government of China imposed an unprecedented lockdown in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. Its aim was to stop the spread of a mysterious novel coronavirus...


SGH set up the Disease Outbreak Taskforce (DOTF) in the wake of SARS. Its main role was to develop policy and procedure for outbreaks...


There was no blueprint or standard operating procedure for the ARI wards. The purpose and objectives were clear – to look for and limit possible spread of infection...


The drama at the vanguard of the COVID-19 battle – the very frontlines where patients are looked after – is at the heart of our mission as a hospital...


As cases began to emerge outside China, nurse Patricia Yong knew that once a case appeared in Singapore, ICU beds would be needed, and in good numbers...


SARS veterans understood that an epidemic would affect mental wellness.“Memories and challenges of those months during SARS came flooding back. It never struck me that I had been so traumatised”...


In June 2020, SGH clinicians and Duke-NUS Medical School scientists published one of Singapore’s earliest COVID-19 scientific papers1, detailing the host response to severe disease...


The COVID-19 situation in the migrant worker dormitories was getting out of control, and a national response had been mobilised...


In late April 2020, when dormitory and swab teams were in full swing, SGH Campus was tasked with another public health project – to operationalise a Community Care Facility at the Singapore Expo...


The year began on a promising note with the advent of the mRNA vaccines, which were seen by many as representing the light at the end of a long tunnel...

Last 4 chapters will be available on 9 May 2022


WHAT THE WORLD went through in 2020 and 2021 has been nothing short of unprecedented. SGH was not spared, as our colleagues shouldered the responsibility of tackling the pandemic even as we continued to care for all our patients. The idea for this book surfaced towards the end of 2020...

Read the Foreword by Prof Kenneth Kwek >


I REMEMBER the morning in 2020 when I acceded to CEO’s request to be Chief Editor of the SGH COVID-19 book. There was a lull in the COVID-19 battle. The local epidemiologic curve was sloping downwards...

Read the Preface by Prof Tan Ban Hock >


IN LATE 2019, we made the decision to tweak the structure of our SGH Disease Outbreak Taskforce to allow the domain experts to take the lead. It turned out to be a fortuitous move...

Read the Epilogue by Dr Ruban Poopalingam >

Download the full book "Purpose with Passion: Our COVID-19 Stories" PDF >

This book is dedicated to all our colleagues – you define what it means to be healthcare professionals – and to everyone who stood shoulder to shoulder with us.


Singapore General Hospital

Outram Road, Singapore 169608




All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Every effort has been made to trace all sources and copyright holders of news articles, figures and information in this book before publication.

If any have been inadvertently overlooked, the Singapore General Hospital will ensure that full credit is given at the earliest opportunity.



Tan Ban Hock


Crystal Chai-Lim, Lionel Cheng Tim-Ee, Cheong May Anne, Anantham Devanand, Goh Sai Luan, Koh Tse Hsien, Ng Lit Soo, Andy Sim Gim Hong, Tan Tong Khee, Jennifer Wee Mei Ling


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