The double mutant B1617 COVID-19 variant is a major cause of concern for many people and countries around the world.
Not only had it caused a notable uptick in cases around the globe, but it has also somehow managed to breach seemingly well-designed COVID-19 measures, resulting in a rise in cases in countries that have the pandemic under some form of control, including Singapore and most recently, Taiwan.
This variant is no walk in the park either.
The variant is discovered to be highly transmissible and is moderately resistant to antibodies, though according to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines still work fairly well against it, greatly reducing the severity of the infection this variant may cause on the vaccinated person.
The variant had been detected in at least 40 countries so far.
TLDR: All borders are porous and the virus breached our COVID-19 safety measures
From a post released on the Ministry of Health’s official Facebook page, the ministry stated clearly that the B1617 variant from South Asia isn’t just a Singapore problem.
The highly transmissible virus is likely behind, in addition to some other factors, the increase in outbreaks in community cases across the world, specifically in Asia, even in supposedly safe regions like Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.
All cases of B1617 detected in S’pore can all be attributed to import cases, and because “borders are porous”, there’s no way to completely eliminate import cases.
Unfortunately, it just takes one cause to elude the measures put into place to cause a community spread, like what we’re seeing right now in Singapore, pushing the country towards ever-tightening COVID-19 measures, leading right up to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) stage…
… or what many netizens are calling it, “Circuit Breaker 2.0”.
Despite stringent Stay at Home notices (SHNs) and diligent testing, the virus still managed to give rise to the Changi Airport cluster, which now is sprouting little community-based clusters around our little Red Dot.
The MOH also revealed that the infiltrating virus can be from SC/PR/work pass holders or a short term visitor and that they are doing the best they can since no one can, again, completely close their borders to the outside world.
Note that all short term visitors are allowed to enter only if they have family ties here, or on specific compassionate grounds such as to attend a funeral, or seek medical treatment.
What did the netizens say?
In the comments, there are many calling for a temporary ban on flights from high-risk areas, stating that it’s just common sense.
Just like what New Zealand did.
Some foreigners who have been stuck in Singapore due to work and are unable to return home, are bitter as they deem that “people from India with family ties are allowed to indiscriminately visit while others like Malaysia(ns) don’t get to see their families for 1.5 years. Talk about double standards and preferential treatment.”
There are also some bitter Singaporeans too, stating that “Yea….. it’s our faults… what else? Goalkeeper dozed off, letting in goals are spectators’ faults now. Sorry… its my fault. We should wear mask while sleeping as well to prevent household spreading. Sorry… sorry… sorry”
Another netizen commented, “Just apologise and admit your screw ups, and stop trying to justify it. You just pissing everyone off now. Everyone in the nation can already see how you let us all down including the hospital staff under your care and governance. Stop embarrassing yourself.”
Someone also added, “I still remember Vivian Balakrishnan once said ‘All of us will make mistakes, but when a mistake is made, just come clean and say so, don’t cover up!'”
An angry netizen stated, “What sort of attitude is this? “This is not just a Singapore problem, this is a global problem”. We expressed our anger, concern and pain to you and this is the response? Does anyone find this attitude encouraging? You are not giving us an assuring plan on how you are going to minimize further imports of the B1617 variant in (the) future.”
His/her sentiment is echoed by several other netizens as well who are tired of all the finger-pointing and wanted to see some real action taken by the government to actually tackle the problem.
To know more about the variant and why viruses mutate, watch this video to the end:
Featured Image: Oliverouge 3/ Shutterstock.com