Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen Revealed He Has Tested Positive for COVID-19


Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen tested positive for COVID-19, and he took to a Facebook post to share his experience.

Here’s a week in the life of a COVID-19 patient, in defence-minister-style.

Expected To Be Infected By Omicron

Dr Ng had expected to get infected sooner or later, with the contagiousness of the Omicron variant.

I mean, he didn’t go around asking to be infected lah. But he acknowledged that it would be hard to avoid, unless he became a hermit and never went out of his office.

Thus, he wasn’t surprised that he got infected. At least he was fully vaccinated and boosted, so he avoided serious illness.

Day 1: The Start of Sore Throat

His first day of getting infected started off like any other person’s day: he had his regular exercise of running and weights.

OK, so maybe not like any other person, since most of us don’t work out once we wake up. But the point is that he felt normal, and even had some video meetings in the office.

However, in the evening, his throat started feeling raspy. He found out that his grandchild had tested positive as his preschool had a cluster.

Dr Ng whipped out his trusty ART, and lo and behold—two lines. He didn’t have a fever, but didn’t sleep well.

Day 2: Soldiers VS Omicron Barbarians

Dr Ng: Hm, I’m feeling okay, Maybe this will turn out to be mild. 

COVID-19 in his body: LOL. 

Seems like Dr Ng spoke too soon, as his fever spiked in the evening to 38.5 degree Celsius. Thankfully, it broke after taking some Paracetamol.

However, his throat became sore, nasal passages congested, and heavy head with muscle aches and pain set in.

“Ah, the Omicron barbarians are at the gate and my immune soldiers – T and B cells must be mobilising, updating their enemy recognition software and releasing cytokines, chemokines and antibodies,” Dr Ng wrote.

Ah, yes, now that’s a description that is defence-minister worthy. 

The vaccine confined the infection to just the upper airways and stopped it from spreading to the other organs. His pulse oximeter result was normal, and he went back to sleep.


Day 3: Chai Tau Kueh and Porridge Time

His symptoms became confined to mainly the throat, and his body aches and headaches disappeared. His family members agreed with him that the first 24 to 48 hours are the worst.

To celebrate that he didn’t lose his sense of taste and smell, he ordered some contactless delivery for chai tau kueh (fried carrot cake) and porridge.

So if your family tell you to don’t anyhow eat when you’re sick, you can tell them that chai tau kueh and porridge is approved by our very own Defence Minister.

He still had a low-grade fever of 37.5 degree Celsius,  and his throat was really sore and dry. Being a former cancer surgeon, he used a strong torch to look at his throat and could see redness, swelling and some exudates in the throat. Ouch. 

The sore throat was the most troublesome symptom for him, as it hurt to swallow. Lozenges, herbal and honey ginger tea did little to help.


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Day 4: Decided Not To Exercise After Wife’s Admonition

The Defence Minister wanted to go exercise, but decided not to after a mild admonition from his wife.

BTW, his wife is Professor Ivy Ng, group chief executive of SingHealth.

Other than his urge to exercise and his sore throat, Dr Ng felt rather well. His ART still showed a positive result after the 72-hour mark though.

Day 5: Following MOH’s Protocol 2

The positive line on his ART test is less intense, and he is feeling better with the infection waning.

He said that if he got infected two years ago with the original strain and without vaccines, he “would have feared for [his] life”. Or even six months ago, he would still have worried to be facing Delta with no booster.

However, the vaccines and boosters have turned a potentially fatal infection into just a bad sore throat, and he didn’t have to take up any hospital resources. He feels thankful, that we have a robust healthcare system that allowed him to emerge from this none the worse for wear.


As his ART is still showing a positive result, he will follow the Ministry of Health’s Protocol 2 and work from home. Yay to Zoom for helping Dr Ng to continue with his meetings!

We’re glad to hear that Dr Ng is recovering well, and even happier to see the effectiveness of vaccines and boosters.

Since we’re talking about boosters, here’s a PSA to take your booster shot within nine months after completing your primary vaccination series. You can also check out this handy website to see when your vaccination status will expire.

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Featured Image: Facebook (Ng Eng Hen)