(Singapore, Mar 12, 2020) The Ministry of Health is warning that irresponsible behaviors, such as attending social activities despite being unwell, have led to many locally transmitted cases.
They also pose a risk for the wider community, and mean that the precautionary measures implemented by the government may not work.
The three major socially irresponsible behaviours are failing to minimise social contact when unwell, continuing to work and going about with daily routine when unwell and doctor hopping.
About 35 of the 160 confirmed cases had not minimised social contact even when they had developed a fever or respiratory symptoms. They had also not consulted a doctor early.
Besides, 22% of confirmed cases continued to work or carried on with their daily routines, despite being sick.
For example, of the 14 cases in the Wizlearn Technologies cluster, 9 were staff – 3 of them continued with daily activities despite feeling unwell. One staff also spread the virus to a family contact, who also carried on with daily activities while symptomatic. This resulted in an additional four cases who did not work at the company.
In another cluster example, one case had attended the private dinner function at SAFRA Jurong on 15 Feb when unwell, who could be the reason for another 18 additional cases from the dinner. Ten of these 18 cases continued with daily activities despite feeling unwell, resulting in an additional 17 confirmed cases who were not present at the dinner.
Doctor hopping is another problematic behavior. Thirty-eight of the 160 confirmed cases had visited more than one General Practitioner clinic. Of this, eight cases had visited three or more GP clinics.
The MOH is thus calling locals to refrain from doctor hopping because returning to the same doctor will ensure they can follow up with each case, and make an appropriate assessment if testing for COVID-19 is required.
It says that everyone needs to do their part and be socially responsible. If unwell, even with mild flu-like symptoms, see a doctor and stay at home to prevent spreading the illness to others.