Preparing IR for COVID-19: The Singapore Experience

Published:April 21, 2020DOI:


      This paper describes country-wide special measures undertaken for interventional radiology staff during the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although each interventional radiology service around the world faces unique challenges, the principles outlined in this article will be useful when designing or strengthening individual practices and integrating them within wider hospital and national measures. Moving beyond the current outbreak, these measures will be useful for any future infectious diseases which are likely to arise.


      BCP (business continuity planning), DORSCON (disease outbreak response system condition), HCW (health care workers), MOH (Ministry of Health), PAPR (powered air-purifying respirator), PPE (personal protective equipment), SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      SIR Member Login
      Society Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Use your society credentials to access all journal content and features.
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Purchase one-time access:

      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Zhu N.
        • Zhang D.
        • Wang W.
        • et al.
        A novel coronavirus from patients with pneumonia in China, 2019.
        N Engl J Med. 2020; : 727-733
        • Huang C.
        • Wang Y.
        • Li X.
        • et al.
        Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
        Lancet. 2020; 395: 497-506
        • World Health Organization
        World Health Organization: Rolling Updates on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). March 14, 2020.
        (Available at:)
        • Wu Z.
        • McGoogan J.M.
        Characteristics of and Important Lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in China: summary of a report of 72 314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
        JAMA 2020. 2019; : 3-6
        • Johns Hopkins University
        Coronavirus COVID-19 Global cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE. March 7, 2020.
        (Available at:)
      1. Zheng YY, Ma YT, Zhang JY, Xie X. COVID-19 and the cardiovascular system [published online ahead of print March 5, 2020]. Nat Rev Cardiol. doi:10.1038/s41569-020-0360-5.

        • Wang D.
        • Hu B.
        • Hu C.
        • et al.
        Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
        JAMA. 2020; 1–9
        • Green A.
        Li Wenliang [Obituary]. Lancet 2020;395(20):30382.
        (Available at:)
        • Jarquis W.
        Two Emergency Physicians In Critical Condition. A Statement from ACEP President William Jaquis, MD, FACEP. 2020.
        (Available at:)
        • Mossa-Basha M.
        • Meltzer C.C.
        • Kim D.C.
        • Tuite M.J.
        • Kolli K.P.
        • Tan B.S.
        Radiology Department Preparedness for COVID-19: Radiology Scientific Expert Panel. Radiology 2020.
        (Available at:)
        • Lau T.-N.
        • Teo N.
        • Tay K.-H.
        • et al.
        Is your interventional radiology service ready for SARS? The Singapore experience.
        Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2003; 26: 421-427
        • Gogna A.
        • Tay K.H.
        • Tan B.S.
        Severe acute respiratory syndrome: 11 years later--a radiology perspective.
        AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2014; 203: 4-6
        • Wilder-Smith A.
        • Chiew C.J.
        • Lee V.J.
        Personal view can we contain the COVID-19 outbreak with the same measures as for SARS?.
        Lancet Infect Dis. 2020; (Available at: Accessed March 29, 2020.)
        • Mirza S.K.
        • Tragon T.R.
        • Fukui M.B.
        • Hartman M.S.
        • Hartman A.L.
        Microbiology for radiologists: how to minimize infection transmission in the radiology department.
        Radiographics. 2015; 35: 1231-1244
        • Wong J.
        • Goh Q.Y.
        • Tan Z.
        • et al.
        Preparing for a COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review of Operating Room Outbreak Response Measures in a Large Tertiary Hospital in Singapore.
        Can J Anesth. 2020; (Available at: Accessed March 29, 2020.)
        • Ministry of Health, Singapore
        COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) DORSCON levels. March 7, 2020.
        (Available at:)
        • Rothe C.
        • Schunk M.
        • Sothmann P.
        • et al.
        Transmission of 2019-nCoV infection from an asymptomatic contact in Germany.
        N Engl J Med. 2020; : 2019-2020
        • National Health Service
        Report on Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) by National Health Service (NHS) and Health Protection Scotland. 2019.
        (Available at:) (Accessed March 209, 2020)
        • World Health Organization
        My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene. March 1, 2020.
        (Available at:)
        • World Health Organization
        Infection Prevention and Control of Epidemic- And Pandemic-Prone Acute Respiratory Infections in Health Care. WHO Guidelines.
        (Available at:)
      2. Tay JY, Lim PL, Marimuthu K, et al. De-isolating COVID-19 suspect cases: a continuing challenge [published online ahead of print February 26, 2020]. Clin Infect Dis. doi:10.1093/cid/ciaa179

        • Dashboard of the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak in Singapore
        March 19, 2020.
        (Available at:)
        Date accessed: March 29, 2020
      3. Wang CJ, Ng CY, Brook RH. Response to COVID-19 in Taiwan: Big Data Analytics, New Technology, and Proactive Testing. JAMA 2020 Mar 3. Available at: Accessed March 29, 2020.

        • Person B.
        • Sy F.
        • Holton K.
        • Govert B.
        • Liang A.
        Fear and stigma: the epidemic within the SARS outbreak.
        Emerg Infect Dis. 2004; 10: 358-363