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Monkeypox cases will be given isolation orders and can recover at home from Aug 22: MOH

Monkeypox cases will be taken to National Centre for Infectious Diseases at the end of their isolation period to undergo a discharge review.

Monkeypox cases will be given isolation orders and can recover at home from Aug 22: MOH

This file photo shows an ultra-thin section electron-microscopic capture of the monkeypox virus. (Photo: AFP/Robert Koch Institute/Freya Kaulbars)

SINGAPORE: Monkeypox cases will be allowed to recover at home from next Monday (Aug 22) if they are assessed to be clinically stable by a doctor and their place of residence is deemed suitable, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday. 

They will be able to recover at their place of residence under the Home Recovery Programme, said MOH, adding that those assessed to be at higher risk of complications will continue to be managed in hospitals.

All confirmed monkeypox cases will be issued with an isolation order and are required under the Infectious Diseases Act to remain isolated until they are medically assessed to be not infectious.

They will be taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) at the end of their isolation period to undergo a discharge review. 

"If they are medically assessed to have fully recovered, they will be able to exit isolation. If they have not recovered, they will continue to be isolated until the next appointed discharge review," said MOH.

Currently, all monkeypox cases assessed by public hospitals to be clinically stable recover with telemedicine support at a monkeypox isolation facility. 

SUITABILITY FOR HOME RECOVERY

From Aug 22, monkeypox cases can recover at home if their place of residence is deemed suitable by the Health Ministry. 

This means the case must be able to self-isolate in a bedroom with an attached bathroom. The home must have an additional bathroom for other members of the household. 

There must also be no household members who are pregnant, are aged below 12, or aged 80 and above. They must also not be undergoing dialysis, are immunocompromised, or on immunosuppressants. 

Those who are at higher risk of being infected, such as those with caregiving needs, should also not be living in the home, said MOH. 

There must be no pets in the home. 

"This is to avoid any animal-to-human transmission which may occur when an animal contracts monkeypox from an infected person and then spreads to other persons through bites, scratches or through direct contact with skin, mucosa, blood, and bodily fluids," added the Health Ministry.

If their place of residence is not suitable, monkeypox patients may continue to recover in the isolation facility. 

There have been 15 monkeypox cases in Singapore since June, MOH's latest data showed.

REGULAR TELEMEDICAL CONSULTATIONS

Those on the home recovery programme will receive regular telemedical consultations to assess their recovery, and may be taken to the NCID for additional reviews if necessary. 

They can also call a dedicated MOH hotline if they require any help.

In the event that monkeypox cases experience any shortness of breath, chest pains, severe headaches, stiff neck, changes in mental state such as mood or behaviour, or unusual symptoms with their nerves such as numbness, weakness, changes in speech or vision, abnormal movement of the arms or legs, they should call 995 immediately and inform the operator that they are monkeypox patients.

"In line with the shift to home recovery, suspect monkeypox cases who are assessed to be clinically well will no longer be required to isolate in the hospital while awaiting their test results," said MOH.

"They may instead isolate themselves at home if they are able to do so. Those who are unable to self-isolate in their home will be isolated at an isolation facility while awaiting their test results.

"Suspect cases who are assessed to require admission for clinical care will continue to be managed in hospitals."

The Health Ministry said it will continue to monitor the monkeypox situation closely and calibrate its response measures as needed.

Local and international data continue to show that monkeypox is typically a mild and self-limiting illness where the majority of patients recover within two to four weeks without requiring hospitalisation, said MOH. 

"As the transmission of monkeypox requires close physical or prolonged contact, including face-to-face and skin-to-skin contact such as sexual contact, the risk to the general public remains low," the ministry added.

The Health Ministry also encouraged members of the public to exercise personal responsibility by monitoring their health, maintaining good hygiene, as well as avoiding high-risk sexual activity, such as having multiple sex partners or casual sex, especially during travel.

They should also avoid close contact with people known or suspected to have monkeypox infection. 

Source: CNA/lk(mi)

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