Few would have guessed how bad the COVID-19 pandemic would affect everybody’s life today three months ago. Almost no countries were spared, including Singapore.
In the recent Singapore’s intervention at the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region (WHO WPRO) virtual meeting of Health Ministers to “Stand in Solidarity to Combat COVID-19”, Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of Health shared:
“… Singapore recently put in place a major circuit breaker for four weeks, or two incubation cycles to try to break the chain of transmission. Rather than to wait for the hospital to be overwhelmed, this is a decisive and preemptive move to maintain control and preserve healthcare capacity.”
It’s interesting how Dr Lam call the current circuit breaker measures “decisive and preemptive” when they only reacted to the raising infection rates after almost three months.
It’s not like everything happened overnight, there were enough warnings and examples to learn from. Just look at the drastic measures taken by China on the Wuhan province.
If you were to ask me, our measures were “lacking in resolve and reactive” in nature. Just yesterday, Singapore saw 287 cases of COVID-19 infection while Malaysia reported 109 cases of infection, lowest in the past two weeks.
And how can you call it “decisive” when everyday you disrupt the lives of millions by implementing stricter and more complex measures little by little, day by day, to a point that everyone struggles to keep up with the new regulations?
Remember the overnight Personal Mobility Device ban from footpaths announced by Dr Lam — who is also the Senior Minister of State for Transport — back in 2019?
In his parliament speech, he shared that the government came to a “difficult decision” to ban PMD overnight because it was a necessary step for pedestrians to feel safe again on public paths.
It thus baffles me how the government handled these two cases, the COVID-19 pandemic that rampaging almost every country in the world today, as compare to the banning of PMD issue. They came to a “difficult decision” to ban PMDs from footpaths — a move that made PMDs impractical to be used as a mode of transport — overnight simply because they wanted to make people feel safe, but they are unable to have the resolve to implement tough measures to prevent the spread of a global pandemic that is affecting almost everyone in the world. It took them almost three months to make a “decisive and preemptive move”, as compare to a “difficult decision” to ban the PMD overnight when both have lives and livelihoods at stake.
I wonder what the yard stick of a difficult decision is.
I thought better of you when it comes to dealing with people’s lives and livelihood, but the ruling party disappointed me. But I’m sure we, Singaporeans, will have the personal resolve to see this through together for the better.