The ministry will "monitor the situation closely", the spokesperson told the Channel News Asia. "We have also been actively investigating the possibility of reinfection among persons who have recovered from COVID-19, when they seek subsequent medical care for acute respiratory infection symptoms," the spokesperson said.
Singapore on Thursday said that there is no known case of COVID-19 reinfection in the country so far, but it is “actively investigating” the possibility of reinfection among those who have recovered from the disease. Following reports of recovered COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, Belgium and the Netherlands becoming reinfected with the coronavirus, a Health Ministry spokesperson said that the ministry is reviewing global and local clinical research and evidence on COVID-19 reinfection.
The ministry will “monitor the situation closely”, the spokesperson told the Channel News Asia. “We have also been actively investigating the possibility of reinfection among persons who have recovered from COVID-19, when they seek subsequent medical care for acute respiratory infection symptoms,” the spokesperson said.
On Monday, researchers at the University of Hong Kong said a Hong Kong man who recovered from COVID-19 was reinfected four-and-a-half months later. It was the first documented instance of human reinfection. The 33-year-old man was cleared of COVID-19 and discharged from hospital in April, but tested positive again after returning from Spain via Britain on August 15.
The patient had appeared to be previously healthy, researchers said in the paper, which was accepted by the international medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. He was found to have contracted a different coronavirus strain from the one he had previously contracted and remained asymptomatic for the second infection.
The finding does not mean taking vaccines will be useless, Dr Kai-Wang To, one of the leading authors of the paper, told Reuters. “Immunity induced by vaccination can be different from those induced by natural infection,” he said. “(We) will need to wait for the results of the vaccine trials to see if how effective vaccines are.”
World Health Organisation (WHO) epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said on Monday that there was no need to jump to any conclusions, in response to the Hong Kong case. On Tuesday, a patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium were confirmed to have been reinfected with the coronavirus, reported Dutch national broadcaster NOS, citing virologists.