A nurse checks the temperature of a passenger at one of the checkpoints set up to stop the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Bangkok on March 26, 2020 (AFP / Mladen Antonov)

Singapore’s Ministry of Health says it did not issue these COVID-19 'guidelines'

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A post has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter with a claim it is an official advisory issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Health about the first symptoms of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; a spokesperson for the Singaporean health body told AFP it had not issued the purported advisory.

The post was published here on Facebook on March 16, 2020. It has since shared more than 73,000 times.

The post lists common COVID-19 symptoms that can be seen in the first nine days of infection, ranging from flu-like symptoms and sore throat to breathing problems.

Below is the screenshot of the misleading post:

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post

Part of the Thai-language caption translates to English as:  “From the ministry of health in Singapore, the initial symptoms of COVID-19  from MOH - the summary.

“Be aware of the symptoms for COVID-19 day by day
Day 1-3 symptoms like a cold, slight sore throat, no fever not tired
Day 4 body feels like drunk, voice starts to change, body temp approximately 36.5 degrees Celsius, difficulties in eating, minor headache, minor stomach complications
Day 5 Sore throat and voice change, body temp 36.5-36.7, physical fatigue and pains at joints
Day 6 mild fever body temp at 37
Day 9 no change but will be the worst, coughing worsens, fever worsens, difficulty in breathing
In this phase, there is a necessity in blood check and chest X-rays.”

The purported advisory was also shared here, here, here and here on Facebook and here and here on Twitter with a similar claim.

The same claim was shared alongside a video here in English.

The claim is false; Singapore’s Ministry of Health said it did not issue the purported advisory.

Ng Tse Wei, the senior assistant director of the Singaporean Ministry of Health’s  Corporate Communications Division told AFP via email on March 25 that the ministry “is not the source of the content.”

AFP conducted searches on the Singaporean government website’s COVID-19 section and found no results relating to “First symptoms of COVID-19” guidelines, or similar.