There are false statements contained in a Facebook post on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore.
On 18 April 2020, Singapore States Times published a Facebook post on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore claiming that:
- The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection on 17 April was 1,146, and the total number of confirmed cases was 5,573;
- Health Minister Mr Gan Kim Yong ordered the reported numbers to be halved to minimise public panic, by reporting numbers in the afternoon instead of later at night;
- The Singapore Government earlier covered up the number of uncontactable suspect cases, then covered up the flight information and profiles of imported cases, and subsequently tried to cover up the total number of cases by reporting only the number of discharged cases and daily increases; and
- The States Times Review (STR) had called out the Government and Ministry of Health (MOH) on the cover up and MOH had to comply with STR’s post.
The above are false, for the following reasons:
- There were 623 new cases of COVID-19 infection as of 12pm on 17 April 2020, which brought the total number of cases to 5,050. It is false that there were 1,146 new cases. There was no instruction given by the Minister for Health or the Government to halve or under-report the number of cases. For the purpose of updating the number of new cases of COVID-19 per 24-hour period, MOH has always used 12pm as the cut-off time since the onset of COVID-19.
- There is no cover-up by the Government or MOH. MOH’s daily press releases publish information on all confirmed cases, including the number of imported cases, and the linked and unlinked cases at that point in time, even as contact tracing and epidemiological investigations are ongoing. MOH also publishes reports on the daily situation as well as an overview of the cases via the case summary table and dashboard which can be publicly accessed on MOH’s website.
- MOH does not act and has not acted in compliance with any of STR‘s posts.
Contact tracing is a rigorous and time-intensive process, especially as case numbers increase. As there is significant public interest particularly in the number of new COVID-19 infections daily, MOH has started releasing top line numbers (i.e., the gross number of new cases which have been preliminarily confirmed) in the afternoon of each day, even as contact tracing and investigations continue. Subsequently, further updates and details of those cases are shared via the MOH press release issued later on the same night.
We advise members of the public not to speculate and/or spread unfounded rumours. Please visit www.moh.gov.sg for updates on the COVID-19 situation.