200,000 is a mighty large number.
If I told you that Singapore is importing 200,000 stacks of toilet paper (we’re not), you’d be like woah, that’s 10 more than I bought yesterday.
And when the number of Covid-19 cases worldwide hit the 200,000 mark, people were shocked, and countries started taking more drastic measures.
Well, unfortunately, this number has come back to haunt us, as there are still 200,000 Singaporeans who have yet to return to Singapore, some of whom may be carrying the Covid-19 virus.
COVID-19 Cases in S’pore Expected to Rise As 200K S’pore Residents Return Home From Overseas in The Coming Weeks
Expect the number of Covid-19 cases to rise in the next few weeks, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Wednesday (25 March).
Mr Gan explained that 200,000 overseas Singaporeans will return in the coming weeks, which could drive up the number of infections in the country.
As you know, Singapore has seen a huge spike in coronavirus infections in the last few weeks, with the number of cases doubling in the past week.
“Almost 80 per cent of these new cases were imported, all from countries other than China even though we continued to see around 1,000 residents and long-term pass holders return from China in the past week,” he said.
But why are there so many Singaporeans coming home all of a sudden? Is there a sale I don’t know about?
Lockdowns and travelling
As the Ministry of Health reported, the government is expecting more Singapore residents from abroad to return over the coming weeks in response to lockdowns in some countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) also put out an advisory over a week ago, encouraging students studying overseas to consider returning home soon amid Covid-19 concerns.
But it’s not just that.
It’s a worrying trend, to be honest; Singaporeans are going against the advice of the authorities for their own sake.
Travelling despite being told not to travel.
Panic buying despite being told not to panic buy.
Partying despite being told that such gatherings could increase one’s risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.
We’re a bit like that toddler who was told not to touch the jar of peanut butter but was later found to have bathed in it.
Thankfully though, unlike many other countries, we’re well-prepared for a future spike in cases.
Freeing up capacity before its needed
You see, we’re lucky to have such a kiasi government that can make up for our mistakes. They’re doing this by freeing capacity in hospitals wherever necessary to make space for a possible surge in infections in the future.
For example, 29 Covid-19 patients who were recovering were transferred to Mount Elizabeth Hospital on Monday (23 March) to free up capacity at public hospitals for more il patients.
These transferred patients are recovering and need less medical care, and keeping them in the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) would just prevent other patients from getting treated.
This is the reason why some recovering Covid-19 patients were moved to chalets; it wasn’t because they were in dire need of a staycation, it was to free up intensive care beds or ventilators from those who might need it in the future.
There are also contingency plans in place, such as using quarantine facilities for patients who have very mild symptoms and converting wards in public hospitals to handle Covid-19 patients if the need arises.
Yes, measures are in place to handle a huge spike in Covid-19 cases, but that doesn’t mean that we can take things lightly.
If the government tells you to do something during this pandemic, there’s probably a good reason for it.
These precautionary measures will be pointless if we don’t follow their advice.
If you can’t find it within yourself to make these small sacrifices for your fellow Singaporeans, at least do it for your loved ones.