'IT system testing glitch' caused erroneous SMS to be sent to 357 patients informing them they had COVID-19: MOH

'IT system testing glitch' caused erroneous SMS to be sent to 357 patients informing them they had COVID-19: MOH

file photo phone woman 5
File photo of a mobile phone user. (Photo: Xabryna Kek)

SINGAPORE: An IT system testing glitch on Saturday (May 16) resulted in 357 patients receiving an erroneous SMS message informing them that they had tested positive for COVID-19, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

"The messages had been sent due to an IT system testing glitch as we sought to improve the efficiency of our system," said MOH on Monday in response to CNA's queries, adding that no confidential information was breached.

Two former COVID-19 patients who received the SMS told CNA that they had previously been confirmed as negative and had already been discharged.

Another patient said he received the message while he was in the D'Resort community isolation facility. He was confirmed as negative the next day and discharged.

"On May 16 at about 7pm, 357 patients who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 received an erroneous SMS message informing them that they had tested positive for COVID-19, although they had already been informed earlier," said MOH. 

"The Ministry of Health has taken immediate steps to rectify the situation once the error had been detected. A follow-up message was sent to all affected individuals by 10pm to clarify that the earlier SMS message had been sent in error, and to apologise for any inconvenience and anxiety caused," said the ministry.

"We have since reviewed our processes to ensure that a similar error will not recur."

Error SMS MOH
A screenshot of the series of messages that a former COVID-19 patient received on Saturday. 

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Source: CNA/mt(gs)

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