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What do you do if you receive an SMS from the Ministry of Health (MOH) issuing you with a health risk alert (HRA), health risk warning (HRW) or a quarantine order (QO)? First things first, don’t panic— we’ve got a simple guide for you.

The three Covid-19 health alerts are part of the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, even as the number of cases rise. But with so many new measures — and new abbreviations — we don’t blame you if you can’t keep track. 

These are the main differences among the three. The one issued to people with the lowest degree of risk exposure is the Health Risk Alert (HRA), followed by a Health Risk Warning (HRW) and finally, a Quarantine Order (QO). Read on for more details.

Health Risk Alert (HRA)
You’re issued this if: You’ve had contact of a relatively short duration with a Covid-19 case (based on TraceTogether data); or your SafeEntry records from the past 14 days show you’ve been in an area with increased transmission.
How long: 10 days
How you’re notified: SMS
What to do if you get a Health Risk Alert (HRA) from MOH:
#1: Monitor your health for next 10 days from the day you receive the SMS. If you start to have symptoms of Covid-19, you should see a doctor immediately.
#2: While it’s not required by law, you should minimise social interactions during the duration of the HRA.
#3: You’re strongly encouraged to get a free polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, though it’s not mandatory. You’ll have to book an appointment for the free PCR test online (more info here). 
#4: People who've received HRA and HRW can collect free antigen rapid tests (ARTs) from one of the 100 vending machines at 56 locations islandwide (more info here). Each kit comes with three ART tests. #5: Do ART self-tests on the first, third, and fifth day (follow our step-by-step ART guide here). 
#6: If your self-test result is positive, take a picture of the test result with your identification card, and book an appointment for your confirmatory PCR test at a designated clinic listed at phpc.gov.sg.
Is it legally binding? No, though civic responsibility and common sense should steer you to do the right thing.

Health Risk Warning (HRW)
You get this if: You’re a close contact of a Covid-19 case, based on TraceTogether records; or if you’ve been in close proximity for an extended amount of time with a Covid-19 case.
How long: 10 days
How you’re notified: SMS
What to do if you get a HRW from MOH:
#1: You’re required by law to take a PCR test at a designated testing centre upon receiving the notice. Book an appointment before you go (booking info here).
#2: You're required by law to self-isolate until you receive a negative PCR test result. In other words, do not go out or even interact with others at home until your test result comes back negative. If you develop symptoms, you have to see a doctor immediately.
#3: After you receive a negative test result, you should still try to minimise social interactions during the course of the HRW.
#4: People who've received HRA and HRW can collect free antigen rapid tests (ARTs) from one of the 100 vending machines at 56 locations islandwide (more info here). Each kit comes with three ART tests. 
#5: Do three self-administered ARTs on the third, fifth and seventh days. If your self-test result is positive, take a picture of the test result with your identification card, and book an appointment for your confirmatory PCR test at a designated clinic listed at phpc.gov.sg.
#6: On or after the eighth day of HRW, you’re required to take a second PCR test. Similar to the first PCR test, pre-booking is required. 
Is it legally binding? Yes. 

Quarantine Order (QO)
You get this if: You’re suspected to have Covid-19 or are a close contact of a Covid-19 case. If you’re a household close contact of a Covid-19 case, you’d have been informed to self-register online here. If you receive a HRA or HRW at the same time you get issued a QO, you should follow the protocol for QO.
How long is it for: 10 days
How you’re notified: SMS  
What to do next:
#1: Go home immediately and isolate yourself in your own room, preferably with an attached bathroom to reduce the likelihood of physical contact with other household members. Open windows to keep the room well-ventilated.
#2: An assessment will be made to see if your home is suitable for Home Quarantine. If it isn’t, you’ll be quarantined at a Government Quarantine Facility or at a hospital instead.
#3: You are not allowed to go out except to go for your PCR tests. You will get 24/7 access to a telemedicine service throughout this time.
#4: You’re required by law to take two free PCR tests during your 10-day QO — one at the start, and another at the end. PCR tests will be held at a regional screening centre and you must book the tests online. Results will come back within 24 to 48 hours, or can be checked via HealthHub.
#5: Do an ART test at home every day and submit the results by 12pm online. The ART test kits will be supplied to you for free and can be collected when you go for your first PCR test.
#6: Before the 10-day QO is up, book another appointment for the second PCR test (aka the exit PCR test).
#7: If the exit PCR test result comes back negative, your QO will end and you’ll receive an SMS confirming this.
#8: Even though your QO is over, you should do self-tests with the ART at home from Days 11 to 14.

Main photo: Freepik.com/tirachardz

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