SINGAPORE - Anyone who feels ill should see a doctor immediately and should not go to school or work, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said on Friday (May 14).
"We should remind everyone. So long as you feel sick, if you are not feeling well, please do not go to school, do not go to work. Report sick, go and see a doctor immediately, and in the meantime, isolate yourself," he said.
Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, said at a press conference that recent cases have shown that the spread of the virus can be contained if those who fall ill get medical help quickly.
"When people do that very promptly, they are able to limit the spread of the virus so it doesn't go on to other settings. It's confined to themselves and maybe to one or two other people in the household, and therefore it stops the spread of the virus very quickly," he said.
He added: "On the other hand, we have seen cases where people feel sick... they may even have a fever, but they continue going to work and only see the doctor later on.
"Unfortunately, when this happens, the virus would have spread to many other people, be it at work or in other settings."
Mr Wong's remarks come after several schools announced they would move to full home-based learning after some students tested positive for Covid-19.
At least five schools have been affected by the recent surge in Covid-19 community cases in the past two weeks. Mr Wong said the reported infections so far all took place outside the school setting.
Most of the affected students have been linked to a tutor in a private tuition school, said the Ministry of Health's (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak.
On Thursday, the ministry said the tutor is a 50-year-old Singaporean woman who works at a tuition agency called Learning Point.
She had diarrhoea and a headache on May 3, a fever on May 6 and felt dizzy on May 8. She then saw a doctor on May 9 but was not tested for Covid-19.
On May 11, she developed a cough and saw the doctor again. The next day, she tested positive for the virus.
Echoing Mr Wong's comments, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said during the press conference that it is important to see a doctor and get tested once a symptom appears.
"At least if (the result) is negative, it gives you peace of mind. If it is positive, we can help you and give you the necessary treatment as early as possible and also to start contact tracing and ring-fence the infection to protect your loved ones and your friends as well."
Correction note: This article has been updated for accuracy.