SINGAPORE - Asymptomatic individuals who test positive for Covid-19 using do-it-yourself antigen rapid tests (ART) are being urged to self-isolate at home for 72 hours.
If they are unwell during the period of self-isolation, they should visit a general practitioner (GP) as soon as possible.
The Republic's director of medical services Kenneth Mak explained the new self-isolation regime during a virtual media briefing on Friday (Sept 17).
"What we want to do through this modified new regime of self-isolation is to give you the empowerment to be able to take charge of your own health... particularly if you are asymptomatic, to allow you continue as much of your activities in the community as safely as possible," said Associate Professor Mak.
He said it will also help to protect an individual's household contacts, friends, colleagues and the community from the risk of infection.
Here is what an individual should do if he tests positive using a Covid-19 self-test kit and is asymptomatic.
1. Stop going to work and cancel social activities
The individual should isolate himself in order to protect others from being infected with the Covid-19 virus, said Prof Mak. This will be the socially responsible thing to do.
2. Do not rush to a hospital emergency department
Prof Mak said an asymptomatic individual who tests positive using an ART kit does not need to rush to a hospital emergency department to get tested for Covid-19.
"In fact, if rushed to the hospital accident and emergency department, you may inadvertently expose yourself to more risk because there may be other infected people present in the hospital," he added.
Any individual concerned about the ART test result can instead visit a nearby Swab and Send Home clinic to let the doctor there assess his condition.
3. Stay home for at least 72 hours if possible and take an ART test after
An individual who tests positive in an ART test and can self-isolate is encouraged to stay at home for at least 72 hours, said Prof Mak.
This will allow the person to safely recover, monitor his health and not spread the virus to anyone else during this period of time.
Prof Mak said at the end of 72 hours of self-isolation, the individual is encouraged to do another ART test.
"If your second ART test is now negative, you can then have the peace of mind knowing that you have recovered from your infection," he added.
"You can progressively resume your normal activities (such as) going back to work, going back to social activities."
4. Visit GP if unwell during isolation
If the individual feels unwell during the period of self-isolation, he should visit a GP as soon as possible to be assessed.
The doctor will decide if a Covid-19 swab test is needed to determine whether there is an infection, and will also advise the individual on what to do next.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.