coronavirus positive in singapore

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  • Feb 25, 2019

Singapore claims first use of antibody test to track coronavirus ...
Singapore claims first use of antibody test to track coronavirus …

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in Singapore, one of the first places affected by coronavirus, detectives track down potential positive cases to try to stay one step ahead of the virus. How do they do this and it was too late for the rest of the world?

In mid-January, a group of 20 tourists from the Chinese city of Guangxi arrived in Singapore for the Chinese New Year. They visited some of the most glamorous tourist spot.

Also on their schedule are non-descript Chinese traditional medicine shop, selling oil vera and herbal products. Shop popular with mainland tourists.

They are serviced by a dedicated salesperson who showed them a variety of products, even medicated oil massage on their arms. Chinese group finished the tour and return home.

But they have left something behind.

At the time, 18 cases of coronavirus in Singapore only found in immigrants from mainland China.

But on February 4, the Singapore government reported that the virus has spread to the local community – and drug stores Yong Thai Wait China is the first cluster, with a local tour guide and that the enthusiastic saleswoman sick.

From a shopping trip, nine people were infected, including the salesperson’s husband, her six-month-old baby and their Indonesian housemaid. Two other staff members are also caught.

They have now recovered, but it could have been much worse if Singapore does not have a tracking program contact sophisticated and spacious, which followed the chain of the virus from one person to another, to identify and isolate people – and all their close contacts – before they can spread the virus further.

“We’re going to end up like Wuhan,” said Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and adviser to the government of Singapore.

“The hospitals will be overwhelmed.”

On 16 March, Singapore has confirmed 243 cases and no deaths. For about 40% of the people, they are the first indication of the health ministry said that they need to be tested and isolated.

In total, 6,000 people have been traced to contact this time, using a combination of CCTV footage, police investigations and antiquated, labor intensive detective work – which often starts with a simple phone call.

This is one of the calls on a sunny Saturday afternoon for a barbecue that caused the Singapore-based British yoga teacher Melissa (not her real name) learned he was at risk of contracting the virus.

“is real,” he said, explaining when an unidentified number lights up on the phone.

“They ask ‘are you a taxi at 18:47 on Wednesday?’ .. It was very right I guess I panicked a little, I was not thinking clearly “

Melissa finally remembered that he was in a taxi – and then when he saw his cab application realizes the trip took only six minutes.

For now, he does not know whether it was the driver or another passenger who is infected.

All he knew was that it was an officer in the Ministry of Health of Singapore made a phone call, and said that he should stay at home and quarantined.

The next day Melissa found out just how serious the officials. Three men appeared in the doorway, wearing a jacket and a surgical mask.

“It’s a bit like out of a movie,” he said. “They gave me a contract – the order of quarantine – .. He says you can not go outside of your house besides fines and jail time This is a legal document

” They made it very clear that you can not leave the house. And I know I will not break it. I know that I live in a place where you do what you’re told. “

Two weeks later, Melissa did not show symptoms of Covid-19 and could leave her home.

in Singapore, most people know someone who has contacts traced and it is part of the point, with nearly 8,000 people per square km it is one of the country’s most populous on Earth. a cluster of infected unknown can spread the disease quickly.

potential strain on the economy and health care can be very large. Singapore has a little choice but to try to find and isolate everyone at risk.

Conceicao Edwin Philip is one of three contact tracer at the Singapore General Hospital, a government hospital responsible for treating patients coronavirus.

His team was the first to speak with patients when they come to the hospital, to find out who they’ve been in contact with and where they’ve been.

“Once we get the results from the laboratory [of positive cases] we have to leave everything and push it through the night until about 03:00. The next day, you start again,” he said.

They submit that information is important to the staff at the Department of Health to continue the process.

“Without this first piece, no one can be connected. It’s like a puzzle, you have to piece it all together,” he said.

Zubaidah said lead one of the teams tasked with the Ministry of Health next job.

Often his team face the challenge of collecting information – some patients are too ill to answer, for example -. And that makes their job much harder

“As far as possible in cases like that, we will try to have the information, but once again the difficult” he said.

That is where the next team comes in, because Singapore also has the advantage of having the police criminal investigation unit in this case.

“The police and the continued service of teleconferences every day for the exchange of information,” senior assistant commissioner (SAC) police Ghim Lian Hua, of the Criminal Investigation Department told the BBC via email.

“An average of 30 to 50 officers working on contact tracing on a particular day, and the number has increased to more than 100 officers at times.”

contact tracing is done on daily tasks the police – something made possible by the low crime rate in Singapore.

On the occasion officers have also been roped assistance from the criminal investigation department, bureau of narcotics, and police intelligence.

They use CCTV recording, data visualization and investigation to help them keep track of contacts whose identities are not known in the first instance, for example, taxi passengers do not make the booking application, or paid in cash.

effectiveness is evident from the case of Julie, who went to the hospital feeling of dizziness and fever in early February.

Less than an hour after doctors told her she had contracted the virus, the system kicked.

“I was in a hospital bed when I got the call,” he said. What followed was a thorough inquiry of everything Julie has been done and all the people he met during the last seven days.

“They want to know who I was with, what I’m doing, what their names are and then their contact numbers.

Officials were looking for a close contact, usually someone who has spent more than 30 minute with an infected person, in the space of 2m.

“there is no interest in someone I have brushed shoulders with even if it is someone I know. They are looking for people I have spent some amount of time together. “

Julie spoke to the tracker contact for nearly three hours. At the end of the phone call, he has identified 50 people. All contacted. By the Ministry of Health, and served as the command quarantine 14 days

no one developed virus

contact-tracing is not a new thing -, it has been used for decades to track patients who may have passed their disease to others during their stay.

But the use of Singapore from the system during this crisis was praised by epidemiologist at Harvard in early February, which described it as a “gold standard detection of near-perfect”.

the World Health Organization also commended Singapore for being proactive even before the first case was detected.

Singapore, unlike the United States and most of Europe, the contacts start searching early to stay ahead of the spread of the community.

“If you leave it too late then everything becomes so much more difficult to do, because there are so many cases, “said Dr. Siousxie Wiles, associate professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

However, the level of precision and detection used in Singapore will not be possible in most countries.

There are not many countries that have high levels of supervision Singapore has, the WHO told the BBC in an email, “has allowed for the rapid identification and management of cases”.

That and the behavior of most compliant of the general population – when the government calls and asks you a question, it is a near-certainty that everyone will cooperate

Singapore Infectious Diseases Act also makes illegal for anyone to.refuse cooperation with the police in their efforts to gather information.

penalty is S $ 10,000 ($ 6,900; £ 5,800) fine, imprisonment for six months – or both.

Two Chinese nationals have been charged under the legislation to give police false information about their whereabouts during the contact tracing. Not surprisingly, notes Mr Conceicao, in almost all cases people are very accommodating.

“For the use of the police for the tracking of probe contact in this way is quite unique to Singapore,” said Chong Ja Ian, a professor at the National University of Singapore.

“But in Singapore, this is something that people are exposed to and familiar with. Singapore has grown and live with people who are highly surveilled, so that it becomes normal for them. Some sort of reach that the country has not questioned by many, it is taken for granted. people have learned to live with it. “

Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea have all seen varying degrees of success over the last week, using a different strategy from big data, social distance and mass testing to get the numbers under control.

Contrast that with other Asian countries with large populations, poor health and detection systems such as Indonesia, and that means trying to find people who are infected is like looking for a needle in a haystack. They do not know where the next case comes.

“People who have an elite technocratic strong capable of doing long-term planning and a relatively high level of trust the experts and governments better respond to virus outbreaks” says James Crabtree, professor of practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

“This is why Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan seem to be coping better than Italy and, the US”

On March 5, Singapore announced the latest – and what will be the biggest – cluster so far.

A the end of the Chinese New Year dinner at a club on February 15 hosted hundreds of people – that one of the parties has resulted in 47 infections so far.

They have gone on to infect others in the community, raising fears that contact tracing quickly become irrelevant, and that measures need to be enforced more stringent others such as school closures and lockdowns.

Singapore also saw an exponential rise in the number of new cases per day – most of them imported. On March 18, for example, announced 47 new cases – 33 were imported, most of Singapore who has returned home.

It has imposed restrictions on travelers entering the country as a result.

The government says there is still value in the contact tracing, because the data collected from the contact tracing would help policy makers decide on a strategy to roll out in the different phases of the epidemic, said Dr Said.

“Until we reach a stage where the numbers are so high that control the whole of our ability to bring resources to try and contain disease outbreaks that may be a time when we have to think about changing our strategy,” said Kenneth Mak, Singapore’s deputy director of medical services.

“But we do not see it as something we need to consider very seriously at this point in time.”

Nearly two months into the outbreak, there were no deaths in Singapore.

Singapore has credited that for health services, but also contact the track.

It has bought time, so that the doctor can treat people in hospitals who really need care, no health care incredible as it occurs in Wuhan.

The fact is that Singapore has to give up contact tracing if the numbers continue to rise. It was expensive, labor-intensive and at some point the virus will take over the position of the contact tracker.

But until then it is a race against the perpetrators invisible. The tracers know it only takes a few more cases could be traced before the virus began surging through the population.

Navy hospital ship Two US also will be sent to help alleviate the shortage expected in a sick bed.

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