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Is it possible to be infected from a few seconds of exposure with a person who displays symptoms of the virus? What should I do after this exposure?

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Dr. Dinesh G
Space Doctor
Doctor
24 Streak Score Doctors are able to put a streak together by performing an activity everyday
Hi @passerby  firstly, Im sorry to hear this and Im sure this must be concerning. Unfortunately as this is a new virus, the definition for what constitutes significant exposure that places you at risk is evolving as more information comes to light. That being said, I would reassure you that the risk in your situation is very low, unless you were directly exposed to the patient or their environment while they were coughing/sneezing. Also, not everyone with symptoms has the coronavirus as there are other common viruses that cause similar symptoms.

MOH has defined what you describe as “transient contact” that amounts to low risk, more information at this link https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/faqs. The CDC, also considered by most as a reliable resource, identifies this as direct exposure to coughing/sneezing from a confirmed patient, spending 10mins within 6 feet of a confirmed patient, among others at this link: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDexposed.pdf

Ultimately, with respect to what to do - there is possible community spread in Singapore now so it would be best to adopt the recommended social distancing measures to protect your loved ones, and seek medical attention early if you feel unwell, especially since you may have been exposed. If convenience is an issue, the assessment can be done online via apps like DoctorWorld that provide video-based consultations, and depending on your condition, the attending doctor may be able to prescribe suitable medications and have them delivered to you. Here is a link that shares more about this: https://www.todayonline.com/brand-spotlight/doctor-will-see-you-next-app

Hope this helps! 
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