With countries all around the world implementing lockdowns and mass quarantines, about 1 billion people have been stuck at home for days and weeks.
The streets of big cities like Rome, Barcelona and New York are basically empty. A sight that none of us ever expected to see.
However, it turns out that implementing a lockdown is not sufficient to defeat the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Lockdowns Are Not Enough To Fight Covid-19
In fact, contact tracing and isolation, the current methods being used by Singapore, are supposed to be more effective in fighting this disease.
So in case you’re wondering why schools in Singapore still haven’t closed yet, there’s a very good reason for why they shouldn’t.
The World Health Organisation’s top emergency expert, Dr Mike Ryan, said that countries cannot simply lock down their societies to defeat coronavirus and that public health measures are needed to avoid a resurgence of the virus later on.
“What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” he said in an interview with BBC.
Dr Ryan is the WHO’s health emergencies director, and he did an online interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show to talk about Covid-19.
“The danger right now with the lockdowns… If we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up,” he added.
Pointed Out China, Singapore and Korea As Good Examples
Dr Ryan also pointed Singapore out as one of the prime examples of how to deal with the coronavirus.
He mentioned places like China, Singapore and Korea as examples of countries that are “focused on having a comprehensive strategy”.
“When they got the flames of the fire pushed down through physical distancing or through lockdowns, they then went after the virus, they went looking for the virus. We need to actively search for cases of the virus, and we need to test every single suspect case,” he said.
“We don’t need to test everybody. We need to focus on testing those who may have the virus.”
Contact Tracing in Singapore
Since the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, Singapore has been conducting contact tracing and quarantining the close contacts of those who tested positive for the coronavirus.
And now the government has even come up with an app for it, called TraceTogether.
Contact tracing in Singapore is done by looking through CCTV footage, police investigations, and phone calls.
It might require a lot more work than putting the entire country in a lockdown, but it has also definitely proven to be more effective.
Here’s a picture that summarises how it works:
As of 22 Mar, MOH has identified and quarantined a total of 7,957 close contacts. 2,310 are currently quarantined, while the remaining 5,647 have already completed their quarantine.
Singapore reported 23 new cases of the coronavirus last night, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 455. Most of the recent cases are imported, and there have been no new local clusters detected in Singapore.