Singapore — On Wednesday (June 3), CNA reported on an interview with a Singaporean who had been studying in the UK about his drawn-out bout with Covid-19. It had the headline: “68 days of isolation and 22 swab tests: A Singaporean’s long Covid-19 journey after possible infection at UK party”.
What Mr Daviest Ong thought was going to be an article on hygiene ended up blindsiding him when, in his words, “the headline was made into a clickbait which caused a number of brutal comments here and there …”
As the story goes, Mr Ong believed that he got coronavirus after “a rare night out of partying in the United Kingdom”. He said: “I let my guard down, I agreed to go for the party.”
And what made it even more difficult to deal with was the fact that he had been so careful with safety and hygiene before that night, always wearing a mask and gloves when out either grocery shopping or going to school.
Mr Ong said: “Even at the grocery store, I would only touch things I needed. I’d discard the gloves after that in a box outside my house.” He was extra vigilant with hygiene, especially in the library, continually washing his hands throughout his study time there.
Before finding out that he had been infected, when the virus began to spread worldwide, the Singapore Government called upon foreign students to come home. He, and three of his friends, took a flight back to Singapore on March 20.
Even on their flight home, Mr Ong refused to allow his friend to share his drink, recounting, “My friend wanted to drink out of my cup, but I told him no.”
Another precaution he took was choosing not to stay with his own family upon his return. Rather, while on his Stay Home Notice (SHN), his aunt ki0ndly offered for him to use her flat while she stayed with her mother in order to lessen any chances of Mr Ong infecting his family.
He explained: “I didn’t expect to get the virus, but I didn’t want to take chances.”
But he would soon find out that the two friends he was with that night at the party in London had been infected.
Soon after, he found himself dealing with almost 40-degree Celsius fevers, too. Finally seeking medical help to deal with his own infection.
Mr Goh spent 68 days in almost complete isolation at the Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore before finally testing negative for Covid-19 on May 30. And it would take 22 painful swab tests before he could take his first steps outside of the hospital since testing positive for the disease.
He told CNA: “When I found out I was going to be discharged, that was the happiest day of my life.”
When the article was finally posted on CNA’s Facebook page, there was a backlash online from a number of people. The story got at least 886 reactions, 222 comments and was shared at least 368 times.
One social media user, Mr John Toh, said Mr Ong should have known better.
Source: Screenshot from Facebook / ChannelNewsAsiaAnother Facebook user, Mr Steve Lim, claimed that Mr Ong “regretted nothing at all”.
When he reading the article himself, Mr Ong was surprised at how the story came out, especially the way the headline was written. And after seeing the reactions of a number of people online, he decided to post on his own Facebook page to explain his side, saying “if you want to know my take 👌🏼”
TISG reached out to Mr Ong to ask him what happened, to which he replied: “To summarise, I felt my story was twisted to sensationalise the article. Headline was misleading. The focus of the article was told to me differently.”
“Not to mention the hateful comments so yeah that’s about it…,” he added.
While many of the comments on the Facebook post were quite negative and mean, not everyone was so unkind. Ms Clare Ching felt that people need to read the article before making assumptions about Mr Ong and his negligence over “a night of partying in the UK”.
Mr Ong ended his Facebook post by saying that while the article proved “that people don’t read but instead, only read headlines”, he added that it proved “how cruel humans can be”, and that he just needs to move on.
Read the CNA article here.