Covid-19 recovery memo from GP not needed to return to work or school: Govt

Recovered patients do not need a letter or memo from doctors to certify they have recovered from Covid-19 to return to work or to school. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Employees and students who have recovered from Covid-19 do not need a letter or memo to certify their recovery before returning to work or school.

General practitioners (GPs) have reported a surge in patients with no or mild symptoms visiting their clinics just to obtain such memos.

This is not necessary, and such visits may be putting others at risk, said the Ministries of Education, Health and Manpower and the Early Childhood Development Agency in a joint statement on Saturday (Feb 5).

These visits "risk compromising the standard of care for other patients who genuinely require medical attention", the four authorities added.

"(Recovered patients) do not need a letter or memo from doctors to certify they have recovered from Covid-19 to return to work or to school, including pre-school and institutes of higher learning."

Current health protocols dictate that those who have tested positive for Covid-19 with an antigen rapid test (ART) are to self-isolate for at least 72 hours and may exit the isolation to resume normal activities if they are well and test negative on their self-administered ART.

The release advised employers and employees to familiarise themselves with the health protocols.

"Employers should not ask for recovery memos upon return," said the statement.

"Similarly, students and staff who contract Covid-19, or are issued with a stay-home notice or health risk warning, will not have to obtain a recovery memo from their doctors, before returning to school."

Employees who test positive for Covid-19 should still immediately inform their employers and should not return to the workplace, to prevent the virus from spreading.

But those who are well should be allowed to work from home if they are able to do so.

If they are unable to work from home, then employers should treat the period of absence as paid sick leave without requiring a medical certificate (MC).

The Straits Times reported on Friday that GPs were seeing an uptick in Covid-19 patients requesting MCs to cover their absence from work, despite official guidelines indicating no need for one.

Infectious diseases specialist Leong Hoe Nam said such visits were turning clinics into “MC-issuing centres”, which was an unnecessary distraction and a waste of resources.

A positive ART should be enough as documentation for employers, he added.

There was a tripling of locally transmitted cases on Friday to more than 13,000.

The surge appears alarming, but experts said it was due to a backlog during the festive Chinese New Year period when clinics were closed and people found it inauspicious to seek medical diagnosis.

They added that there was no need for further restrictions and called for calm.

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