MOH Reveals Difficulty Of Contact Tracing Wuhan Virus Patients’ Movements

One of Singapore’s main defence against the Wuhan coronavirus is contact tracing.

With it, we can limit the spread of the coronavirus in Singapore by quarantining possible carriers.

However, to do a complete contact tracing of a single patient is resource-intensive and tough.

Ministry of Health (MOH) Reveals the Difficulty of Contact Tracing

Every single time a Wuhan coronavirus patient is warded, the doctors and nurses will create an activity map for the patient.

The activity map contains information about the patients’ movements from 14 days before the symptoms show.

The incubation period of the Wuhan coronavirus is estimated to be between 2 and 14 days.

Should there be gaps in the map, they will have to interview the patient if they are well enough to speak.

If not, they’ll interview the families or try to track his movement via surveillance footage.

It is imperative that they have to verify and get the patients’ movements right. Because even missing one location might have horrifying consequences.

A separate data team will use the activity map and cross-reference to other cases to see if there’s any overlap in locations.

A Race Against Time

It’s not as though the contact tracing team has a lot of time do all of the above.

The team has to get the activity map ready within two hours. And all possible close contacts have to be contacted within 24 hours.

Which is tough because some of them are hard to reach.

Contact Team Working Shifts To Operate 24 Hours

Since the first coronavirus case in Singapore, 7 teams of 10 staff have been working out of two rooms in MOH.

They work in shifts around the clock, reaching out to 900 possible close contacts of Wuhan coronavirus patients.

Most people contacted were understanding and cooperated beautifully with the team.

However, there are some who are angry about the situation.

While others are wary of possible scams, usually requiring verification from the contact tracing centre, even going as far as to request for email verification.

Then, there are those who don’t answer, especially foreigners who don’t have a working number in Singapore or did not stay at a fixed place.

Keep Calm, Don’t Hoard & Take Necessary Precautions

While the authorities have done an admirable job of trying to contain the Wuhan coronavirus, we can all do our part as well.

For one, employers can adhere to the compulsory Leave of Absence (LOA) every foreign worker who returned from China has to take.

Because if you don’t, and the worker has contracted the virus, you will suffer terrible consequences.

Two, don’t profit or hoard daily essentials in Singapore. You don’t need 100 cans of abalones in your storeroom right now. Learn to share, yeah?

And finally, stay safe and practise good personal hygiene. Make it a point to wash your hand with soap frequently and wear facemasks only if you’re unwell.