Wait, what?! If things get worse, you’ll lower our alert level?!
If you find yourself confused at the headline, and wonder if it’s a typo, it’s not.
The headline is exactly what one Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said.
Now, before you look for your pitchforks, listen to his explanation first:
DORSCON Level Is A Judgement Call
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong emphasised that the DORSCON level isn’t a “checklist” where ticking all the boxes means it’s at a certain level.
In other words, don’t think of it as your PSLE grade A or B where a certain score equates a certain grade.
Instead, it’s simply a guideline for them to formulate their responses from.
Kind of like your Chinese oral exams where examiners decide if you get merit or distinction based on different factors.
Measures Independent Of DORSCON Level
Minister Gan pointed out that there were several measures, like the travel restrictions, that were put into place even before the DORSCON alert level was raised to orange.
For example, the travel restrictions.
So don’t worry if the DORSCON alert level is lowered, it doesn’t mean they’re not keeping a lookout for Covid-19 in Singapore.
Travel Restrictions Might Be Useless
No matter how well Singapore does its own internal checks and detection, Covid-19 will never disappear if the rest of the world doesn’t buck up.
After all, we do get a lot of people coming in and out of Singapore on a daily basis.
And every inbound traveller will have the risk of carrying Covid-19 into the country.
So if Covid-19 becomes embedded in other countries, Singapore might have to remove its travel restrictions and lower its Dorscon alert level.
Then, you ask, why can’t we stop people from coming in then?
Because If We Do That, Singapore Cannot Survive
When Singapore reported a fall in visitor arrivals a couple of weeks back, businesses in Singapore suffered.
And that was only with the ban on travellers from Hubei, China.
Singapore is a country whose economic performance depends on the rest of the world. You’ve probably heard of this joke before: No matter where war breaks out, Singapore will be affected.
It was emphasised that Singapore cannot isolate itself from the rest of the world.
The only way for Singapore to move past this crisis is to assess the situation carefully, adjust its position and move on.
If that means a downward movement of the DORSCON level and lifting of travel restrictions, so be it.
Embedded In The Human Population
Now, if you’re worrying that Singapore will be turned into zombies and we’ll all go play catching at the National Stadium, don’t worry.
This isn’t the first time a coronavirus was embedded in the human population. Or, like what my boss likes to say, become chickenpoxxed.
H1N1 was the pandemic that swept across the world back in 2009.
Back then, even when H1N1 became the dominant strain of influenza here, Singapore lowered its DORSCON level back to green.
A study showed that 415,000 Singapore residents were infected with H1N1 and 420,000 were vaccinated against the virus.
The H1N1 outbreak shows that it is possible to live with a coronavirus hanging over our head.
And that’s what the government is hoping for as well.
Meanwhile, let’s all keep ourselves updated on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore by bookmarking MOH’s website.