As a not-very-wise man once urged, “PLEASE BAN ALL FLIGHTS FROM INDIA.”
(*Hears police sirens in the distance*)
Anyway, here’s why Singapore cannot afford to do so, as explained by Minister for Education Lawrence Wong.
Lawrence Wong Explains Why Borders Were Not Closed Earlier or Permanently
Mr Wong, who still co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19, observed that Singapore is a small country with scarce natural or human resources, and immigration is essential to Singaporeans’ daily living.
“We are small… We need migrant workers to build our homes,” The Straits Times reported him as saying.
He added that foreign workers are also essential to other services Singapore cannot do without, such as taking on the roles of domestic helpers and caregivers for the elderly.
Therefore, Singapore has to take “a risk-based approach in managing our borders”, where the risks of keeping borders open are weighed against our need for immigration.
The recent surge in South Asian countries’ reported infections has already prompted “very tight” measures, according to Mr Wong, “to the point that the backlog of applications has been growing”, and that “many projects have been suffering from delays”.
Travellers who have been to most South Asian countries are already banned from entry into or transit through Singapore as part of these measures, unless they are Singapore citizens or permanent residents.
As aspiring BTO owners among us would know, Mr Wong admitted that “some of our housing projects may now be delayed by up to a year or more.”
He also reassured the public that migrant workers who arrive in Singapore are fully isolated from the rest of the community.
However, despite everything, Mr Wong cautions that community cases can still occur from time to time.
Yeah, I just got kicked out of my 8-person friend gathering; I have enough reminders about that.
He also commented on the curious observation of visitors who test negative on arrival but positive when leaving Singapore: they could either be infected while in Singapore, or they suffered an infection in the past, and are “shedding” virus fragments.
These fragments can be picked up by a COVID-19 test, but are no longer live viruses and cannot infect others.
Feature Image: Nawadoln / Shutterstock.com