Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen recovering from Covid-19

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said he had anticipated he would get the virus given how contagious the Omicron variant has been. PHOTOS: ST FILE, NG ENG HEN/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who has tested positive for Covid-19, shared his experience in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Feb 8). 

Dr Ng had anticipated that he would get infected, given how contagious the Omicron variant is. 

He said in his post: “Not that one would go looking to be infected, but with the highly infectious Omicron causing the largest waves since the start of the pandemic in Singapore, it would be hard to avoid this variant, unless one became a recluse.” 

As he had two primary vaccine doses and a booster shot, he felt assured about avoiding serious illness. 

Recounting his experience over five days, Dr Ng, a former cancer surgeon, said Day 1 started out normal, and he did his regular exercise involving running and weights. 

He also had several video meetings in the office, none of which were in person. 

In the evening, his throat felt “raspy”. Dr Ng, 63, then found out that his grandchild had tested positive for the virus as the pre-school he attended had a cluster of cases. 

He took an antigen rapid test (ART) and tested positive. 

“ART can’t tell the exact variant, but it is most likely to be Omicron, which is now the dominant strain. I had no fever but didn’t sleep well,” Dr Ng said in his post. 

On Day 2, he felt good in the morning and thought that his case would be a mild one, but it then became worse. 

“Fever spiked in the evening to 38.5 deg C but broke readily with paracetamol. 
“Throat became sore, nasal passages more congested. Heavy head and myalgia (muscle aches and pain) set in,” he said. 

Dr Ng felt better on Day 3. He said he never lost his appetite and could taste and smell.

He was still suffering from a low-grade fever of around 37.5 deg C.

On Day 4, other than his sore throat, Dr Ng felt quite well. 

He was itching to exercise, but decided against it after a mild admonition from his wife, Professor Ivy Ng, group chief executive of SingHealth. 

He took another ART after the 72-hour mark had passed and it was still positive. 

On Day 5, the positive line on his ART appeared “less intense”. 

“I’m better with the infection waning... If I got infected two years ago with the original strain, unprotected without vaccines, I would have feared for my life,” he said. 

He will now follow the Health Ministry’s Protocol 2 and work from home. 

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