SINGAPORE – A 33-year-old newly-wed found herself among a recent group of imported cases of Covid-19, after returning to Singapore from a three-week trip to Moscow to visit her Russian husband and in-laws.
The Singaporean, who wanted to be known only as Ms N, had visited her 38-year-old Thailand-based husband in the Russian capital, which had no quarantine requirements when she landed there in mid-May.
On her return to Singapore on June 11, she took a Covid-19 swab test before going to a hotel for her 21-day stay-home notice. There, she registered for a Covid-19 vaccine shot, which had just become available for her age group.
Around 1pm the same day, she received a call informing her that her Covid-19 test was positive.
The working professional, who got married less than a year ago, had planned on starting a new job after completing her hotel stay.
“I had this thought: I am young and I’m healthy, so even if I were to get it, maybe I will be asymptomatic,” she said in a Zoom interview with The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao.
In Russia, other than being unmasked when in open areas, like most people there, Ms N would sanitise her hands and wear a mask when indoors. On Uber rides, she would ask drivers to put on their masks.
It was during the flight home that she began to have symptoms. Her throat felt a little itchy, which gave her a slight cough. Her husband in Moscow also tested positive, but her in-laws tested negative.
At Alexandra Hospital (AH), where she was hospitalised on June 11, her symptoms included a fever that reached a high of 38.8 deg C and “massive headaches”.
“They gave me paracetamol for my headache, lozenges for my sore throat and anti-congestant for my blocked nose,” she said.
Five days later, Ms N realised she could not smell her shampoo.
Dr Satya P.K. Gollamudi, head of medical services at AH, who treated her, said Covid-19 patients who experience smell or taste loss typically regain it after a few days or a couple of weeks.
Some people experience other symptoms for a longer time, such as brain fog, fatigue or dizziness when they stand — the so-called long Covid-19.
He said Ms N has mild Covid-19 and has been discharged to a community care facility.
Those who have a mild case of Covid-19 can expect to be hospitalised till the seventh day of the illness, as serious issues typically surface in about a week, he added.
This year, most of the cases are in the community and these people experience fever and other symptoms typical of Covid-19, unlike the mostly asymptomatic or mild cases among migrant workers last year, said Dr Gollamudi.
“However, what we have been seeing locally is congruent with what’s happening in the international community — that vaccinated individuals experience much milder disease after infection,” he added.
If Covid-19 becomes endemic, it is possible that serious infections would decline as most people would have been vaccinated.
Unlike severe cases, mild cases do not require supplemental oxygen or special medication. Drugs available over the counter are used to treat the symptoms of those with mild Covid-19, said Dr Gollamudi.