NUS Prof Got Himself Tested For Covid-19 After He Couldn’t Smell Oranges His Wife Was Peeling

For months, we’ve received advice to seek treatment if we’re experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms, all possible signs of a Covid-19 infection.

But news that there may be other side effects like a sudden loss of smell has put some people on high alert.

Among them was an associate professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Hugh Mason, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday (27 Mar).


He had consulted a doctor after realising he couldn’t smell anything on Monday (23 Mar), reports The Straits Times (ST).

NUS prof had a cold & fever before testing positive for Covid-19

Mr Mason’s loss of ability to smell, however, didn’t come completely out of the blue.

He told ST that he had already come down with a cold on 10 Mar, which developed into a fever on 22 Mar.

Whether he had visited a doctor during that period is unclear.

On 23 Mar, the 53-year-old sensed something amiss when his wife was peeling an orange and he couldn’t detect the strong scent at all.


Recalling reports about loss of smell as a Covid-19 symptom, the NUS prof decided to consult his doctor right away.

Wife also tested positive for the virus

After undergoing Covid-19 tests on Thursday (26 Mar), Mr Mason went straight home to self-isolate while awaiting results.

Further tests the next day came back positive, and he was admitted to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on Friday (27 Mar).


According to ST, his wife also tested positive for the virus the following day (28 Mar), and is now in an isolation ward at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

Meanwhile, their 13-year-old son is in self-quarantine at home with their domestic helper.

Grateful Singapore’s system is taking care of people well

The United Kingdom (UK) citizen who has been a Permanent Resident (PR) here since 2013 is unsure of where he could have gotten the infection from.

He last travelled to the UK on 21 Jan, which was quite a while back.

Despite the unfortunate diagnosis, Mr Mason is thankful for Singapore’s healthcare system. While resources are scarce like in his home country, he notes that “they’re being used very, very wisely.”

He added that,

That means help is available for people who need it when they need it. I feel extremely lucky to be here.

Mr Mason’s condition has generally improved, save for a mild cough and his still absent sense of smell.

While the path ahead is still uncertain, we hope that he will soon be one of many discharge cases Singapore records daily.

MS News wishes Mr Mason, his wife, and all other patients a smooth recovery.

Featured image adapted from YouTube and Singapore General Hospital.