Photo of Gan Kim Yong from Straits Times

When questioned why are the infected made to visit GP clinics numerous times before given a test, Minister Gan Kim Yong admitted in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 18) that the government does not have enough capabilities to test all suspect cases who exhibit symptoms of the Wuhan virus:

“Every day we have about 30,000 people down with flu-like symptoms like runny nose, cough and cold and so on. So it is not possible to test all 30,000 of them.”

When asked why are the GP clinics not given test kits to diagnose the virus, the millionaire minister said GP doctors are not well-trained enough and they may be infected:

“Not all GPs may be familiar with the special techniques required to take the swabs for the test, and this can be quite a hazardous process that could expose the GP to unnecessary risk should the person have the virus. Such tests are better done at hospitals, which have trained personnel and facilities for this.”

Minister Gan Kim Yong then made a joke at the serious discussion, saying:

“And if the doctor gives you an MC, stay at home throughout the MC period. Don’t go around and don’t go and queue up to buy toilet paper and so on.”

At least 18 confirmed cases visited the GP clinic twice, and in between the visits the infected went about their daily routine before being quarantined.

There are now 89 confirmed cases in Singapore as of Saturday (Feb 22), with three new cases reported. Case 87 and 88 were infected from known clusters, while case 89 was infected from unknown reason.

The Ministry of Health has stopped publishing figures of uncontactable suspect cases. 1,101 are now under quarantined, while 5 are in critical conditions.