SINGAPORE: The public should be aware of the most common things they touch, including their mobile phones, to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus.
During a news conference on Wednesday (Feb 12), the Ministry of Health’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak advised people to ensure that they clean the surfaces of their phones, stressing that the virus is spread by droplets and contamination of surfaces.
He added that there is currently no established evidence that this virus spreads in the air.
Mr Mak also said that there have been messages “with good intentions” circulating among the public to encourage good practices, but reiterated that hand-washing is the “single best defence” against community spread.
“The best form of advice I can give you to defend yourself is, in fact, washing your hands regularly and frequently with soap and water, and also to be mindful of the things that you commonly touch,” he said.
Mr Mak made reference to the phone as one of the most common things we touch.
“You may want to make sure you that you clean the surfaces of your phone as well, as you touch it. It’s subconscious, we often do that, but these are the important things to make sure you protect yourself.
“It is not wearing a mask that’s important, it’s hand washing,” he added.
Those who are sick should see a doctor as soon as possible, he said, adding that patients should not go to multiple doctors as this could make it difficult to establish if they have been sick for prolonged periods of time.
Singapore now has 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.
As of Wednesday, six more patients have been discharged from the hospital, bringing the number of people who recovered to 15. Thirty-five cases remain in hospital, including eight in the Intensive Care Unit.
The virus has killed more than 1,300 in China and infected more than 60,000 since it emerged late last year.
It has spread to several countries, including Singapore, Japan, Thailand and the US. The World Health Organization declared it a public health emergency last month.