Stick to the rules; stay at home if you are even mildly unwell: Ong Ye Kung

Singaporeans are urged to exercise caution ahead of next week's Chinese New Year celebrations. ST PHOTO: THADDEUS ANG

SINGAPORE - Stick to the rules and don't visit anyone if you are feeling under the weather - even if it is just a sore throat and you have tested negative for Covid-19.

Urging Singaporeans to exercise caution ahead of next week's Chinese New Year celebrations, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said at a dialogue on Friday (Jan 28): "As long as you are not well - whether you test negative or not - don't go out."

This is because antigen rapid tests can throw up false negatives, the minister said.

"And if you get tested again and it turns up positive after you have visited people, it is already too late."

Mr Ong added that people should take an antigen rapid test before visiting seniors, unvaccinated people or the immunocompromised, and reiterated that the current permitted group size for social gatherings is five, saying: “Don’t break the rules – you can get fined.”

The dialogue between Mr Ong, Professor Leo Yee Sin, executive director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, and Professor Wang Linfa, an expert on emerging infectious diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School, was part of the launch of a Chinese-language book on Singapore's battle with the coronavirus written by Lianhe Zaobao journalists.

Singapore saw 5,554 Covid-19 cases on Friday, the vast majority of which were local infections.

There are currently 636 people in hospital, 46 of whom require supplemental oxygen and 10 need intensive care.

"Omicron is less severe than Delta, but we cannot let our guard down because the variant is highly transmissible," Mr Ong said. "If many people get infected, there will still be a large number of people who will require hospitalisation."

Covid Warriors: The Singapore Way will go on sale at bookstores for $25, beginning in February.

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