May 19, 2020 / 5:14 AM / 12 days ago

Singapore sorry for sending positive coronavirus test results in error

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face masks crosses a street, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore has apologised to 357 COVID-19 patients who received an erroneous text message saying they had again tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The tiny Southeast Asian nation has confirmed over 28,000 cases of the disease, one of the highest tallies in Asia, and is under lockdown until June 1. The death toll in Singapore stands at 22.

“The messages had been sent due to an IT system testing glitch as we sought to improve the efficiency of our system,” the health ministry said in a statement issued late Monday.

It apologised “for any inconvenience and anxiety caused” and said recipients had been alerted to the error within hours.

Two former COVID-19 patients who received the message told Singapore broadcaster ChannelNewsAsia that they had previously been confirmed as negative and had already been discharged.

The ministry did not immediately confirm whether recovered patients had received the messages.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by John Geddie and Stephen Coates

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