See More on Facebook

News

askST: Can coronavirus be spread by sweat, or via activities such as singing?

There is currently no evidence showing that the virus can be transmitted through one’s perspiration.


Written by

Updated: March 12, 2020

Concerns have been raised over social activities such as singing and exercising in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Wednesday (March 11), Singapore’s largest Safra Jurong cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases went up to 40, against a total of 178 cases.

The patients, who had attended a Feb 15 Chinese New Year celebration held in the ballroom of Joy Garden restaurant at Safra Jurong, are members of a Hokkien singing group.

This has raised concerns as to whether the disease, known as Covid-19, can be transmitted through singing.

Similar concerns have been expressed about whether the virus can be spread through sweat by those who like going to the gym and run in marathons.

Q: CAN COVID-19 BE TRANSMITTED THROUGH SINGING?
A: Infected individuals who sing could transmit the virus through their saliva or respiratory droplets.

These droplets could then transmit the virus to other individuals through both direct and indirect means.

Professor Leo Yee Sin, executive director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, said at an ST Panel Discussion on Monday that both direct and indirect forms of droplet transmission are not mutually exclusive. For example, individuals who are in close interaction with one another are likely to have touched the same surfaces, making them equally vulnerable to both forms of transmission.

Q: CAN COVID-19 BE SPREAD BY SWEAT?
A: However, infectious diseases expert Leong Hoe Nam said in an interview with The New Paper that “sweat alone won’t spread the disease, but it could if it mixes with gunk on a person’s nose or if the person coughs and contaminates the sweat”.

Q: WOULD IT STILL BE SAFE TO GO TO THE GYM?
A: Patrons should be mindful of gym equipment that is commonly used and has high-contact surfaces.

However, gyms have stepped up their disinfection routines and sanitised equipment more frequently as well as implemened mandatory temperature checks.

Dr Leong said as long as all patrons maintain their hygiene, gyms are unlikely to be potential clusters for disease transmission.

Q: CAN THE VIRUS BE TRANSMITTED IF I JOIN MARATHONS?
A: Since marathons involve large gatherings of people, joining these events could increase the risk of human-to-human transmissions.

Marathons being held overseas have been cancelled or are at the risk of cancellation in the light of the virus, such as the Paris half-marathon that was scheduled to take place on March 1, with an expected turnout of 44,000 runners.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday that the current advisory on large-scale events in Singapore is being reviewed, and tightened measures will have downstream implications on upcoming events in view of intensified social-distancing measures.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News

Taiwan: 720,000 people registered for purchasing face masks online

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that more than 722,000 people — 600,000 using the NHI app and 122,000 more using the Emask system — had successfully registered for purchasing face masks as of 1 p.m. Asked about people who have reportedly tried to register again, CECC Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung called on the public to stop, stressing that authorities are committed to providing a set of face masks to each user prior to March 18, the official deadline for registration. Regarding some reported phone scams on payment requirements for face masks, Chen asked users to remain vigilant. Access is limited to Taiwan residents who need to register their NHI number, obtain proper digital certification and downloa


By Asia News Network
March 13, 2020

News

Covid-19 outbreak will continue for a year or longer; more stringent measures may need to be put in place, says PM Lee

 In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The Covid-19 outbreak will continue for some time – a year, and maybe longer – said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his second national address on the situation on Thursday (March 12). But if Singaporeans keep up their guard and take practical precautions, the country will be able to keep its economy going and people will be able to carry on with their daily lives, he said. In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The disease outbreak response level will not be stepped up to red, the highest level, he said. It is c


By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020

News

Foreigners play their part in Shanghai’s epidemic prevention

 Expat volunteers have been active in helping the city overcome the COVID-19 outbreak. Twelve foreign residents in Shanghai have joined a volunteer team to help with the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control. Located in Minhang district, the team was established on Feb 10 by the Jinfeng International Community Development Association, which aims to promote the development of Huacao town and the Jinfeng International Community by organising themed activities and public welfare events. Pakistani Amir Shafiq Khan joined the team to give back. “It’s easy to run away to another country, but I felt that my family and I should contribute to China in this difficult time as it has always offered opportunities to us,” says Khan, who has lived in


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

News

Asian stock markets take cue from US to hit fresh lows

ST Index careens into bear territory for the first time since January 2016 Many stock markets across Asia, including in Singapore, followed the United States into bear territory after US President Donald Trump stopped short of offering a detailed rescue package as the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic. Adding to fears, oil prices slumped further. The Straits Times Index (STI) careened into bear territory for the first time since January 2016. The last time that the STI was in a bear market – where stocks have fallen at least 20 per cent from their recent high – was during the oil price rout in 2016. The STI finished down 3.77 per cent yesterday, and more than 21 per cent down from a peak of 3,407.02 on April 29 last year.


By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020

News

Bangladesh to benefit from coronavirus fallout: survey

Study says globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh. Bangladesh will benefit from the fallout of the coronavirus as most of the globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh, according to a new survey. Hong Kong-based QIMA, a leading provider of supply chain compliance solutions and which partners with brands, retailers and importers to secure, manage and optimise their global supply network, surveyed the executives of more than 200 globally renowned companies between February and early March. Half of the survey respondents are considering shifting supplier sourcing away from China to new countries or r


By Daily Star
March 12, 2020

News

12 new Covid-19 cases in S’pore, including RSAF servicemen who were in France on duty

There are now 40 cases linked to the the dinner at the Joy Garden restaurant on Feb 15, Singapore’s biggest coronavirus cluster. A total of 12 new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Singapore, including three Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) servicemen who were in France on duty. In an update on Wednesday (March 11), the Ministry of Health said that a case confirmed on Tuesday is also an RSAF serviceman who was in France. This means that at least four servicemen are now infected. Of the 12 new coronavirus cases, eight, including the RSAF personnel, are imported, which means that they caught the disease overseas. This is the largest number of imported cases Singapore has seen in a day and comes as countries around the world struggle


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020