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Singapore Goes Back To Normal

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Singapore goes back to normal

Singapore’s surprising new plan to ‘live with covid’ revealed

No quarantine, no icky tests and no daily numbers – one nation that Australians know well is taking a controversial course out of the pandemic.

A country that has been one of the world’s most successful at combating Covid-19 has announced it will soon fundamentally change how it manages the pandemic.

The city state of Singapore has stated covid will be treated like other endemic diseases such as flu.

There will be no goals of zero transmission. Quarantine will be dumped for travellers and close contact of cases will not have to isolate. It also plans to no longer announce daily case numbers.

But you may need to take tests to head to the shops or go to work.

Senior Singaporean ministers have said it is the “new normal” of “living with covid”.

“The bad news is that Covid-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst,” wrote Singapore’s trade Minister Gan Kim Yong, finance minister Lawrence Wong and health minister Ong Ye Kung said in an editorial in the Straits Times this week.

“It means that the virus will continue to mutate, and thereby survive in our community.”

Like most countries, Singapore had an initial peak of cases last year, topping out at 600 cases a day in mid-April. Following a smaller wave in August, Covid-19 hasn’t flared up since.

However, the nation of 5.7 million, slightly larger than Sydney, has had a steady undercurrent of around 20-30 cases every day. The nation has recorded 35 deaths in total.

Singapore has strict border controls in place with most countries including tests on arrival, hotel quarantine and stay-at-home orders.

It’s not dissimilar to Australia, but Singapore varies the demands on travelers depending on the risk in the location where they last visited.

But all that would be eventually done away with under the plan put out by ministers Kung, Yong and Wong who make up Singapore’s Covid-19 multi-ministry task force.

“Every year, many people catch the flu. The overwhelming majority recover without needing to be hospitalised, and with little or no medication. But a minority, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities, can get very ill, and some succumb.

“We can’t eradicate it, but we can turn the pandemic into something much less threatening, like influenza or chickenpox, and get on with our lives,” the trio said.

Vaccination first, then reduce restrictions

Vaccination was key. The road map out of the current measures couldn’t begin until more people had been jabbed.

Singapore is set to have given two-thirds of its residents at least one jab within weeks and to have two thirds fully vaccinated by early August.

Singapore has recorded some fully vaccinated locals getting Covid-19, but none of them have had serious symptoms.

The ministers state it’s likely that would continue and booster shots may be necessary.

Testing would also have to be easier and quicker. Self-administered tests, such as breathalysers, should replace the uncomfortable ear bud down the back of the throat method.

Singapore’s ‘new covid normal’

The ministers said Covid-19 could be “tamed” if not vanquished.

They laid out what they called “a new normal”.

“In time, the airport, seaport, office buildings, malls, hospitals and educational institutions can use these kits to screen staff and visitors.”

People with covid would recover at home because symptoms will mostly be mild and close contacts would be vaccinated.

Because most cases will be less of an issue, the need for contact tracing and quarantining will be low.

A big change would be to no longer report daily case numbers.

“Instead of monitoring Covid-19 infection numbers every day, we will focus on the outcomes: how many fall very sick, how many in the intensive care unit, how many need to be intubated for oxygen, and so on.

“This is like how we now monitor influenza.”

The ministers wrote in the Straits Times that this would be a way for Singapore to navigate its way out of Covid-19, resume major events and travel internationally.

The road map is in contrast to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has not detailed how international travel might return.

On Channel 7’ Sunrise he said opening borders posed a huge risk.

“Once you let it in, you can’t get it out. If we take the other steps that others are suggesting, we have to be comfortable with 5000 cases a day. I don‘t think Australians would be happy.”

Although he did add that Australia was watching highly vaccinated countries closely.

“The key figure going forward will be how many people are suffering serious illness, and that’s what we are watching closely in the United Kingdom.”

The Singaporean ministers said the country was by no means at a stage where the post-covid plan could commence. For the time being, current restrictions would have to remain in place.

Indeed, the country has just toughened entry to people from New South Wales due to the current Sydney outbreak.

But “a road map to transit to a new normal” was coming together.

“History has shown that every pandemic will run its course”.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Readers should accept that Singapore is a authoritarian dictatorship thinly disguised as a democracy. One party has 100% of the seats in parliament & the country has only ever had three prime ministers, two of them being father & son.

    Control is absolute & people will be dragged out of their houses to be forcibly vaccinated. Yet big brother conservatives everywhere will point to Singapore as paradigm of all that is good in society.

    But only until Cindy rolls over our emasculated opposition & imposes the same conditions in Godzone.

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  2. Japanese TV (Nippon TV channel) is reporting that “the incidence of the Delta (Indian) variant” is on the rise in Tokyo. I notice that Japanese media is less PC than in this country. The Japanese media refer to the new strain as “Delta” but add (India) in brackets to inform their audience (who can get easily confused by all the variants).
    Infections are on the rise in Tokyo in the lead up to the Olympics, with the Ro (R nought) value once again above 1 (indicating infection rates on the rise). Tokyo is transitioning from the “4th wave” to the “5th wave” of infections.

    In the meantime, only a few deaths a day are reported, with these mostly being the elderly and infirm (who very well might have succumbed to the annual flu).

    The main concern is the likelihood of infections in Tokyo jumping to 700+ a day just as the Olympics kick off. Already, the main stadium will only be filled to 50%, and the sale of alcohol may be banned. Asahi Beer is trying to spin the situation and position itself as a responsible manufacturer who will support the Tokyo government.

    Life goes on. In the meantime, the NZ government is talking about more compulsion for phone app and mask use. I don’t see this in Japan. The Japanese have a long memory of what an authoritarian government is capable of and want none of it. They themselves will take it upon themselves to self-comply. They don’t need Big Brother to do it for them.

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  3. Singapore will be successful simply because they will stop doing mass testing and daily reporting. It will therefore disappear from the minds of the public. I’m sure after a while hospitalisation figures will not be reported routinely except they may be reported at the end of the year along with death figures together with death figures for all other causes.

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