Singapore—In Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 3), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has thus far not received any reports of a patient suffering from “long Covid,” wherein an infected person suffers from the symptoms of Covid-19, (some of which are severe) for extended periods of time.

Mr Gan said this in a written parliamentary reply to a question posed by Workers’ Party Member of Parliament He Ting Ru. Ms He asked if there are any reported or suspected cases of “long Covid” in the country.

The Health Minister said that long Covid-19 cases are still being studied, and the condition is not yet well-defined.

The reports him as saying, “MOH has thus far not received any reports of ‘long Covid’.

However, our healthcare institutions are following their recovered patients closely to look for prolonged and lingering symptoms arising from Covid-19, as well as for late complications from the infection.

We will also continue to monitor the emerging findings on long-term effects of Covid-19.”

As Mr Gan pointed out, the condition known as “long Covid,” or “long-haul Covid” is yet to be clearly defined, given that the infection is a new one. News reports have also pointed out that people suffering from the condition may experience vastly different symptoms.

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A report from the BBC last month said, “However, the most common feature is crippling fatigue.

Others symptoms include: breathlessness, a cough that won’t go away, joint pain, muscle aches, hearing and eyesight problems, headaches, loss of smell and taste as well as damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and gut.

Mental health problems have been reported including depression, anxiety and struggling to think clearly.

It can utterly destroy people’s quality of life.”

“Long Covid” does not simply mean that a person takes a longer time than usual to recover, although there have been patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus long after becoming symptom-free, including Mr Charles Pignal, a patient in Singapore who got infected overseas but who continued to test positive for Covid-19 over five weeks after feeling better.

In its worst cases, “long Covid” can mean severe and lasting health problems.

Madam Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and CEO of Temasek, warned young Singaporeans last week concerning “long Covid.”

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In a Facebook post, she wrote that young people need to be aware that those who recover from the illness may yet suffer from long-term effects.

“But what we are starting to see are recovered patients, some with mild illness, being hit by long term health problems like diabetes, heart, brain, lungs, and other vital organ dysfunction.
Recovered patients can become diabetic even when they do not have diabetes before Covid.
Others suffer sudden heart failure or stroke, within weeks of recovery. They die or become disabled by such health problems.
Others suffer foggy brain.
So survival is not the only goal.” —/TISG

Read also: “Survival is not the only goal,” Ho Ching warns young people of Covid-19’s long-term effects

Ho Ching remains Temasek CEO nearly a decade after failed leadership succession plans