Singapore – It is not likely that Covid-19 patients in Singapore who have recovered will still be infected because of the extra precautions that are taken before they are discharged, according to National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
Experts at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) have confirmed that the 62 Covid-19 patients discharged in Singapore are no longer carriers of the virus and cannot transfer the infection to others.
A clinical director of the NCID, Dr Shawn Vasoo, shared with straitstimes.com that the centre has taken extra precautions by swabbing discharged patients who return for a follow-up check-up two weeks later.
The swabbing procedure is conducted to check if the patients are still releasing the virus, or virus-shedding, which makes them contagious, said Professor Leo Yee Sin, Executive Director of NCID.
“Patients are only discharged when they have clinically recovered, and molecular testing indicates they have stopped shedding the virus,” she added.
Mr Wong, who is co-chairman of the Covid-19 task force, said on Facebook on Friday (Feb 28): “Some have expressed concerns after reading media reports about how recovered patients from other countries were still carrying the virus.” He quoted the medical experts at the NCID and added that this “is not likely to happen in Singapore” because of the extra precautions being taken before the patients are discharged.
Some have expressed concerns after reading media reports about how recovered patients from other countries were still…
There has been growing concern about discharged patients infecting others following news that a woman in Japan had tested positive after being confirmed as virus-free. The virus symptoms re-emerged after two weeks and she tested positive again, according to NHK on Thursday (Feb 27).
There have also been reports in China that one in seven patients who had recovered from the virus was still contagious, noted ST.
Dr Vasoo perceives it to be a rare occurrence for a patient to become infectious again. However, more evaluations would be conducted. How individuals respond to re-infection lies in their immune system response. “We need to study the immune system response of patients infected with the Covid-19 virus,” he said. “At the moment, it is unknown if patients infected by the Covid-19 will have long-lasting immunity to the virus.”
The online response to the post noted that much is still not known about the virus.