Using Body Temperature To Detect Covid-19 Isn’t 100% Foolproof

It’s relatively easy to associate the detection of COVID-19 with temperature taking.

And to a certain degree, they are definitively correlated.

Temperature taking, an age-old detection method that dates back to the Flintstones era, has been weeding out potential Coronavirus sufferers like a charm.

And it’s only fair to assume that it’s 100% foolproof in that regard.

But the question begets; is it really? 

Image: Phnom Penh Post

“Of course it’s 100% foolproof,” my Aunt Matilda would probably rant. “It’s a thermometer! God knows what I’ve used it for other than checking my breath but surely it’s foolproof!”

Well, she has a point; thermometers are pretty handy when it comes to the detection of your inner body warmth. And yet, I’ve always had innate suspicions about the validity of this device…

And they were soon proven right. 

Health Minister Points Out That Temperature Taking To Detect Covid-19 Isn’t Foolproof

Temperature screening’s not a foolproof measure, health authorities have disclosed on Friday (6 March 2020).

And it should not be considered as the sole way to identify a person’s well-being.

“Temperature tests are very important because many of our COVID-19 patients eventually develop a temperature, a fever,” Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said at a press conference.

“But it’s not foolproof because there will also be patients where there is incubation period and they do not have a temperature, or there will also be patients at the initial stage of the disease where a temperature may not have developed.”

In other words, the COVID-19 pathogen might not exhibit symptoms straight off the bat, and a temperature may only develop after a certain stage.

As such, a thermometer’s unable to ascertain whether one suffers from the COVID-19 pathogen, as symptoms might delay.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong’s statement comes after a new cluster was detected at SAFRA Jurong’s Joy Garden Restaurant.

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At least 8 cases have been linked to the event, and individuals who tested positive for the virus reportedly cleared mandatory temperature checks held at the entrance of the club.

No fever or flu-like symptoms were exhibited by the sufferers as well.

So How Do You Detect The COVID-19?

According to Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), fever‘s a telling factor of whether an individual’s a potential carrier of COVID-19.

Respiratory symptoms, as well as cough, runny nose or breathlessness, could all help to identify stricken individuals.

“These are important symptoms that may suggest lung infection; and lung infections, obviously at this time, COVID-19 is our greatest concern,” he said.

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So to all the alert COVID-19 vigilantes out there, keep a lookout.

Once someone displays one of the aforementioned symptoms, tackle the person and call for the ambulance.


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Alright just kidding please do not do that. But if you display such symptoms, please see the doctor, and rest well at home. As Mr Gan so aptly puts it:

“If you feel unwell, please stay at home and recover. Rest and recover.”

Don’t read this article and think ‘we’re going to die’. Our dear minister’s simply trying to tell you to stop being garang and enjoy subsidised visits to the doctors.


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