See a doctor if you are unwell, urge experts as community cases go up

PHOTO: Unsplash

If you have a cough, sore throat or runny nose, you should not think it is just the common flu.

It could mean you have Covid-19, medical experts said yesterday.

And now is not the time to avoid seeing a doctor and getting a medical certificate (MC) if you are unwell, added infectious disease specialist Leong Hoe Nam.

"Covid-19 is pictured as a virus that kills with severe pneumonia, but in the initial days of the illness, it behaves like any cold virus," he said.

His advice comes as a seventh case was added to the Covid-19 cluster linked to a police para-veterinarian.

Local cluster linked to police para-vet as at Jan 18.
PHOTO: The New Paper Graphic

Four cases linked to this cluster did not seek medical treatment even though they fell ill with flu-like symptoms.

Getting tested may mean a compulsory MC requiring one to stay at home till the result is out.

But it will help to stop the spread of the coronavirus, said Dr Leong.

"Early identification of infected individuals will help save lives."

Dr Ling Li Min, an infectious disease physician at Rophi Clinic, added: "A misconception is that one has to feel unwell or must have a fever before seeking treatment."

But many of the Covid-19 cases reported are, in fact, asymptomatic, she noted.

Key symptom

Another key symptom is the loss of smell or taste, said Dr Ling.

This was observed for three of the cases in the cluster linked to the police para-veterinarian.

The cluster emerged after a 32-year-old para-veterinarian working in the Police K-9 Unit at 2 Mowbray Road tested positive last Wednesday. The officer had felt feverish after returning home from work last Monday.

The para-vet's wife, 28, was the second case added to the cluster last Saturday.The third and fourth cases were linked to the cluster on Sunday.

Read Also
More Covid-19 measures may be needed as community cases rise: Lawrence Wong
More Covid-19 measures may be needed as community cases rise: Lawrence Wong

A 44-year-old police administrative officer who also works at 2 Mowbray Road had developed a dry throat on Jan 7 but did not seek medical treatment.

As part of special testing operations, he was tested last Friday and a positive result came back the next day.

His family member, also 44 and a homemaker, did not seek medical treatment despite having a fever and chills on Jan 9, and losing her sense of smell and taste on Jan 13.

Upon tracing the administrative officer's contacts, MOH contacted her last Saturday and she was tested after reporting her symptoms.

On Monday, two more family members of the administrative officer were added to the cluster as the fifth and sixth linked cases - his wife, who is 43, and a 66-year-old family member.

Both did not see a doctor despite experiencing symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, diarrhoea and losing sense of taste and smell. They were tested after reporting symptoms last Saturday and were confirmed positive on Sunday.


Yesterday, the administrative officer's eight-year-old son was confirmed positive, making him the seventh case.

The emergence of this community cluster has raised concerns about complacency setting in.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin on Monday warned Singapore residents against complacency during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations.

Read Also
Singapore planning for 36 new Covid-19 vaccination centres
Singapore planning for 36 new Covid-19 vaccination centres

"In many Western countries, extensive celebrations, without paying attention to safe measures, during the Christmas holiday period also exacerbated the situation," he said in a Facebook post.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chairman of the ministerial task force on Covid-19, urged similar caution as the new community cases emerged.

It was a point reiterated by medical experts, who said precautions are needed as the pandemic is not over yet.

Said Dr Ling: "This is a reminder to us all that Covid-19 is still out there, so don't let up on the masking, hand hygiene and social distancing measures."

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.