General Information about COVID-19

16 Sep 2021

What are Coronaviruses and what is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to pneumonia (a more severe lung infection). COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by a strain of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020 and has spread globally.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Current evidence suggests that transmission of COVID-19 occurs primarily through the respiratory droplets of infected people, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings. These respiratory droplets can reach the eyes, nose or mouth of a susceptible person directly or indirectly (via contaminated surfaces), resulting in infection.

Airborne transmission of the virus can occur in health care settings where aerosol-generating procedures are performed. While there have been limited reports of airborne transmission outside of health care settings internationally, its role and extent are under further study. MOH will continue to monitor the evidence as it emerges.

To reduce the risk of spread, members of public must wear a mask outside the home and observe safe distancing. Individuals should also observe good hand hygiene and avoid crowded spaces if possible.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 infection are similar to that of an acute respiratory infection or pneumonia. These symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is generally managed with supportive treatment provided based on the patient’s clinical condition. Treatments and drugs for COVID-19 continue to be monitored, and recommendations may further evolve over time.

Is the disease deadly? How is it compared to SARS?

Internationally, COVID-19 has been observed to cause severe disease and death in 2% to 3% of people with the infection, especially among the elderly and those with underlying health problems or compromised immune systems. Singapore’s mortality rate remains below the global average.

What is being done to cope with the rise in COVID-19 cases  in Singapore?

We have worked with our public hospitals to progressively expand healthcare capacity to cater for the care of COVID-19 patients, including retrofitting general wards for easier conversion into isolation and intensive care unit rooms if needed. We have also ensured sufficient supply of medical equipment such as ventilators, and medication.

Today, we have about 100 ICU beds set aside fro COVID-19 patients, and as of 11 August, 8 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU. We are able to expand our ICU capacity if needed, to cater for any increase in COVID cases who require critical care.

For Community Care Facilities (CCFs), we currently have capacity to accommodate more than 5,000 individuals, and we can add more if needed. The CCFs are mainly run by private managing agents and healthcare providers, and supported by public healthcare manpower. We have also activated the SG Healthcare Corps to support the CCF and other operations. Deployment of the Corps is on-going. 

Given the increased need for contact tracing, we have increased our number of contact tracers by approximately 50% since mid-July, from about 300 to 480, to enable rapid detection and ring-fencing of potential cases. The contact tracing team comprises officers from across the ministries as well as volunteers from MOH statutory boards and the Public Service, and is further supplemented with manpower from external service providers. 

We make continual assessment of our healthcare capacities and have contingency plans in place to meet various scenarios. 

Evidence suggests that COVID-19 may have originated from animals. Do I need to avoid live animals locally, including my pets?

Currently, there is no evidence of animal-to-human transmission in Singapore. Hence, there is no known risk of people being infected by COVID-19 through their pets or other animals.

Is the virus found in animals locally?

NParks has biosurveillance programmes to quickly detect animal diseases, including COVID-19. So far, we have not detected it in animals in Singapore.

Where do I get the latest information on the disease situation?

Health advisories and the latest information on the local disease situation are available on the Singapore Ministry of Health website at www.moh.gov.sg. For the latest global disease situation, you may wish to refer to information on the World Health Organization website at www.who.int.


Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPC)

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has re-activated the Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) to focus our primary care efforts to better detect and manage COVID-19 infections. Please click here for more information from the press release.


From 18 February, the PHPCs, as well as polyclinics, will provide special subsidies for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents diagnosed with respiratory illnesses (e.g. common cold). Please click here to find a PHPC located near you.


You may also refer to this link for the FAQs on the PHPC Scheme.