Desperate times call for desperate measures.
If there’s something the Covid-19 virus has proved time and time again, it’s that if a country doesn’t take preventive measures early on, it may be too late once the infection rate skyrockets.
The Singaporean government has continued to implement increasingly drastic measures as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country keeps rising.
All entertainment venues including bars and cinemas would be closed from 26 March 2020, 11:59pm to 30 April.
Religious services, tuition, and enrichment classes, and senior-centric activities will also be suspended.
Confused parents all over the country started scratching their heads, asking Well, what about schools? Why aren’t they closing?
Well, a minister explained why Singapore isn’t doing that yet.
But if the situation doesn’t improve, we might just have to.
Minister: Closing Schools & Some Workplaces Might Be Needed if COVID-19 Keeps Rising
More extreme measures like closing schools and non-essential workplaces might be necessary if the spread of the coronavirus doesn’t slow down in this “critical phase”, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Wednesday (25 March).
Mr Wong, who was giving an update in Parliament on Government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak, said Singapore is “only at the beginning of a very long fight” against Covid-19.
He warned that the outbreak could continue for “many more months until the end of the year and perhaps even beyond”.
A second wave of infections
The concern at the moment is the second and much bigger wave of imported cases from the rest of the world, especially from the United States and Europe.
The first wave came from China, of course, but our aggressive contact tracing and tight border controls managed to slow down the spread of the disease.
But as the number of global infections continues to rise, more and more countries will issue lockdowns and many more Singaporeans may want to return home.
This is the reason why we’re seeing such a huge spike in imported cases; 73 new cases were reported yesterday, 38 of which were imported.
As a result, the authorities have been forced to implement more drastic measures, such as the limiting of gatherings outside of work and school to fewer than 10 people and the closure of entertainment venues (though some people decided to party anyway because not doing so is apparently worse than death).
“These are very major moves to slow the spread of the virus,” the minister said. “We recognise the inconvenience and disruption that these measures will bring to people’s lives, and to businesses, but we have no easy options”, Mr Wong said.
Mr Wong added that these measures under “constant review.”
“If the situation worsens, we will apply extra brakes”, he said.
These extra brakes could be what many parents want – the suspension of schools and the closure of non-essential workplaces, like how all PCF centres were closed after 14 employees were infected.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t get to a point where the whole country has to be shut indoors.
Paid tribute to healthcare workers & public servants
Mr Wong also got emotional as he paid tribute to the healthcare workers, public servants, as well as those in the cleaning, security, transport, airport management, media, hotels, food, and beverage sectors.
Yes, Covid-19, you made a minister cry in Parliament. Are you happy now?
After dabbing his tears and composing himself, Wong said “Words are not sufficient to express our appreciation for so many Singaporeans going all out to fight the virus. And I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who is doing their part.”
It’s easy for us as citizens to say Oh, why don’t they just close everything down? Isn’t it safer?
But what we fail to understand is that governments all over the world are facing a tricky balancing act; containing the coronavirus without killing the economy.
As the minister said, “The more we try to stop or slow down the virus, the steeper will be the damage on our economies.”
But our lives, obviously, should be prioritised over everything else.
“We have to do what is necessary from the public health point of view first – to save lives, slow down the virus – and thereafter, do our best to manage the economic consequences.”
While we can expect more imported cases from abroad, there’s no need to add ourselves and our loved ones to the growing list of infections in the country; stay at home, practise social distancing if you must go outside, and see a doctor if you’re unwell.
We really need to take the advice of the authorities seriously if we want the situation to improve.