Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong recovers from Covid-19 after 'rebound' infection

PM Lee declares recovery, relishes chicken rice meal with Indonesia President Joko Widodo, strengthening diplomatic ties

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time.
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time. (Photo: LHL/FB and RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

UPDATE: PM Lee recovers from COVID-19 after testing positive twice

SINGAPORE —Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed on Thursday (1 June) that he tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time.

In a post on Facebook, the Prime Minister expressed that he felt fine but was experiencing a COVID rebound, a phenomenon that occurs in a small percentage of cases.

The 71-year-old assured the public that although the risk of transmission is not high compared to the initial infection, he will be self-isolating until he tests negative using the Antigen Rapid Test (ART).

In his Facebook post, Prime Minister Lee stated, "I feel fine but I am afraid I have turned COVID-19 positive again. My doctors say it is a COVID rebound, which happens in 5-10 per cent of cases. It is still infectious although the risk is not high compared to the initial infection. The doctors have advised me to self-isolate until I test ART negative."

Lee expressed regret in his post about missing the consecration ceremony of the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, an event he had eagerly anticipated attending. He apologised to the organisers and attendees, and wished them a successful consecration and celebration.

He tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time on 22 May following his visits to South Africa and Kenya.

Lee added that he took his most recent COVID-19 vaccine booster in November last year.

What is a 'rebound' infection?

When US president Joe Biden also tested positive for COVID-19 again in July, he experienced what medical professionals describe as "rebound" infections.

Rebound infections, also known as breakthrough infections, occur when individuals experience a second infection of COVID-19 after a previous bout with the virus.

While researchers are continuing to study this phenomenon, it is believed to be linked to the immune system's response.

In some cases, the immune system may not have had enough time to generate a sufficient antibody response to provide long-lasting protection against the virus.

Biden, 79, initially contracted the virus on 21 July, when he experienced mild symptoms. Despite testing negative for the virus multiple times, he tested positive again on 30 July, which prompted him to isolate for the safety of those around him.

The US president's physician, Dr Kevin O'Connor, confirmed at that time that no further treatment was required, but Biden had remained under close observation.

Biden had been taking Paxlovid, an antiviral medication known to cause a small percentage of COVID patients to experience a "rebound" positive test.

PM Lee recovers from COVID-19

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has successfully recovered from COVID-19 after testing positive twice within the past three weeks.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday night (7 June), he announced that he is now free of the virus and was able to have lunch with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his wife, Ibu Iriana. During their meal, they enjoyed chicken rice together.

President Widodo was visiting Singapore to participate in the Ecosperity Conference, an annual event focused on sustainable development organised by Temasek.

Taking to his own Facebook page, President Widodo expressed his gratitude to PM Lee and his wife, Mrs Lee, for hosting them at the Istana and for the enjoyable conversation they had during the meal.

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