FAQs - Protocol for Individuals with Previous COVID-19 Infection

14 Jun 2021
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Updated as of 24 May 2021

Protocol for Individuals with Previous COVID-19 Infection


[Updated 24 May 21] What is the protocol for the handling of persons who were previously infected with COVID-19? Are they still infectious?

A:

Persons who had been infected with COVID-19 and subsequently recovered can continue to shed non-infectious viral fragments for several months after the initial infection. Their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests may give a positive result, but they are not infectious.

We have robust protocols to handle cases. Hence, when a person (within the community or a traveller) tests positive, we assess, through a combination of tests and clinical observations, whether the person is currently infected or shedding viral fragments. For persons found to be infected, a case number is assigned, and public health action is taken, e.g. close contacts are quarantined. For an individual who is only shedding viral fragments and not infectious as confirmed by further tests, no case number is assigned, and no further public action is necessary. For non-infectious cases, there is also no public health need for household members to be tested or quarantined.


[Updated 24 May 21] What is the protocol for the testing of migrant domestic workers to ensure that they are free from Covid-19 or being reinfected? Will my household members be quarantined?

A:

Persons who had been infected with COVID-19 and subsequently recovered can continue to shed non-infectious viral fragments for several months after the initial infection. Their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests may give a positive result, but they are not infectious.

We have robust protocols to handle cases. Hence, when a person (within the community or a traveller) tests positive, we assess, through a combination of tests and clinical observations, whether the person is currently infected or shedding viral fragments. For persons found to be infected, a case number is assigned, and public health action is taken, e.g. close contacts are quarantined. For an individual who is only shedding viral fragments and not infectious as confirmed by further tests, no case number is assigned, and no further public action is necessary. For non-
infectious cases, there is also no public health need for household members to be tested or quarantined. Hence, MDW on Stay Home Notice (SHN) will also have the period shortened as they are non-infectious.

From 29 Apr 2021 to 7 May 2021, we decided to bring back 700 migrant domestic workers (MDWs) who had recently entered Singapore for re-testing and re-assessment for the possibility of re-infection. This was a precautionary move given that COVID-19 incidences were rising sharply all over the world, with new variants taking hold. All were cleared except for 127 MDWs who tested positive for COVID-19 infection but upon further tests ascertained to be old infections and not infectious. So far, none have been confirmed to have a current infection or re-infection.

For cases which we suspect may be re-infection, and more time is needed to confirm status, out of an abundance of caution, we will quarantine close contacts, including household members. If the case is eventually assessed not to be a re-infection, the close contacts will be released from quarantine.


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