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Over 300 patients in Singapore receive erroneous message as IT glitch hits COVID-19 testing

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Press Trust of India  |  Singapore 

An IT glitch in the COVID-19 testing in Singapore resulted in 357 patients receiving an erroneous message informing them that they had tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting authorities to apologise for the mistake, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

A follow-up message was sent to all affected individuals to clarify that the earlier SMS message had been sent in error, and to apologise for any inconvenience and anxiety caused, it said.

The messages had been sent due to an IT system testing glitch as we sought to improve the efficiency of our system," the Channel Asia quoted the ministry as saying.

The Ministry added that no confidential information was breached.

Two former COVID-19 patients who received the SMS on Saturday told the Channel 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," the Ministry said.

"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," it said.

The ministry said that they have reviewed their processes to ensure that a similar error will not recur.

Meanwhile, the Ministry said that 303 foreign work permit holders living in dormitories were among the 305 new COVID-19 cases as of Monday, taking the nationwide tally to 28,343.

The other two cases are Singaporeans, it said.

"The lower number of cases today is partly due to fewer tests being processed as one testing laboratory is reviewing its processes following an earlier apparatus calibration issue, and will need time to ramp up its testing capacity," the Ministry said.

A total of 495 more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged. In all, 9,835 patients have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, it said.

There are currently 1,036 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and 12 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. A total of 17,450 are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 18 2020. 21:43 IST
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