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Ho Ching: Let’s remove our SARS lens when dealing with Covid

"For SARS, the infectious period starts when fever appears. Covid can be infectious before symptoms appear," explained Mdm Ho adding that a person infected with SARS would develop symptoms while "Covid infections can be asymptomatic"

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Singapore – In one of her latest Covid-19 posts, the Prime Minister’s wife, Ho Ching, made a distinction between SARS and Covid-19 and said that it is important to “recognise that the current situation is not SARS.”

In response to a bbc.com article on Hokkaido’s “almost success story” in battling the pandemic, Mdm Ho shared in Facebook on Friday (April 17), that the “key for every one of us is to recognise that this is NOT SARS.” While the article she shared was about the journey and efforts of Japan in containing the virus, the connection to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which hit the world in 2003, is quite unclear.

Mdm Ho has been known for sharing essential information with the public on the pandemic since it began. Perhaps the advice of treating SARS and Covid-19 as different and separate entities was directed at Japan to help the country with its battles.

“For SARS, the infectious period starts when fever appears. Covid can be infectious before symptoms appear,” explained Mdm Ho, which means that one does not have the luxury of becoming complacent in addressing contamination rates just because confirmed cases are decreasing.

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She added that a person infected with SARS would develop symptoms while “Covid infections can be asymptomatic, and up to 80 per cent may remain asymptomatic until recovery.”

Mdm Ho also enlightened the public with the viral loads of the viruses, stating that SARS’ viral load increases with severity. The sicker the patient, the higher the load, hence more contagious, said Mdm Ho. Meanwhile, Covid patients reach the peak of viral loads at the onset of symptoms or even before they appear. “So Covid patients may be most infectious two maybe three days before symptoms appear?” Mdm Ho wondered.

Although the two are related to each other genetically, according to the World Health Organization, the diseases SARS and Covid-19 cause are different. “So let’s remove our SARS lens when dealing with Covid,” Mdm Ho advised.

The key for every one of us is to recognise that this is NOT SARS.For SARS, the infectious period starts when fever…

Posted by HO Ching on Thursday, April 16, 2020

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Ho Ching thanks Taiwan for mask donation, clarifies earlier remark, but stops short of apology

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