Covid-19 Patients Unlikely To Get Reinfected, Say Singapore Health Experts
Testing positive for Covid-19 is bad enough. Luckily, the odds of getting it twice appear to be low.
In an interview with TODAY, Singapore health experts believe that reinfection among patients who’ve recovered is unlikely. However, it’s still too early to determine why China has reported such cases.
With other coronaviruses like SARS, patients usually develop an immunity after an infection. Dr Paul Tambyahm, president of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, believes this is likely to be the case with Covid-19.
Visualisation of the SARS virus
However, Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, who heads the infectious diseases programme at the Saw Swee Hock School Of Public Health in NUS, shares that immunity against coronaviruses is not lifelong, and only lasts for a few years.
Singapore’s measures to deter reinfection risks seem effective
Despite experts believing that reinfections are unlikely, reports of discharged patients in China testing positive for Covid-19 a second time prove otherwise.
These instances led to Wuhan implementing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for patients who supposedly test negative and leave the hospital.
Caixin Global reports that 14% of patients who recovered and were discharged from hospitals in China’s Guangdong province tested positive again in later check-ups.
Wuhan hospital in China’s central Hubei province
A possible cause is that hospitals are discharging patients who no longer show symptoms but may not have recovered completely from the virus.
Simply put, they may still carry Covid-19 despite not showing symptoms anymore.
As of right now, there are no reports of reinfection in Singapore.
Singapore’s first patient posing with hospital staff upon being discharged
Infectious diseases specialist Dr Leong Hoe Nam explains that symptomatic patients in Singapore have to stay in hospital for 28 days.
This, even though they may only be sick for 10 to 14 days.
Tests have to come back negative twice before the patient can leave the hospital.
Research on Covid-19 ongoing & needs more time
There is still much to learn about how Covid-19 works.
Singapore’s quarantine measures appear to lower the odds of reinfection, but we should still remain vigilant so as not to let the situation escalate further.
At the end of the day, prevention is better than cure, so wash your hands everyone!
Featured image adapted from Facebook.