No known cases of COVID-19 re-infection in Singapore: NCID official

People leave a tent used as a thermal scanning station, while buying groceries, amid the outbreak here on 23 April. 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — There are no cases of COVID-19 re-infection in Singapore to date, said an infectious disease expert on Monday (18 May).

To date, Singapore has reported 28,343 coronavirus cases, including 22 who have died from COVID-19 complications as well as nine others who tested positive for the virus and died from unrelated causes.

“We know that the majority of patients – in some studies, over 95 per cent – of persons develop antibodies after the third week of illness and this is an indirect marker for immunity,” said Dr Shawn Vasoo, clinical director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), in response to queries by Yahoo News Singapore.

“There have been no known cases of COVID-19 re-infection in Singapore. What we need is to gather more information in the coming year and beyond to further assess how long this immunity will last.”

New concerns about the novel coronavirus were raised in early April after South Korean health authorities reported dozens of patients who had recovered from the illness later tested positive again.

But after weeks of research, they said that such test results appear to be "false positives" caused by lingering – but likely not infectious – bits of the virus. As of 6 May, South Korea reported more than 350 such cases.

Experts also said that there was no single case where such patients had passed the coronavirus to another person.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) said on 24 April that there was currently “no evidence” that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second virus infection.

In a scientific brief, the WHO warned governments against issuing “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” to people who have been infected as their accuracy could not be guaranteed.

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