The people are not complying. The people are behaving irresponsibly.
If this carries on, more restrictions will be imposed, we are warned. More deaths will occur if people continue to defy circuit breaker measures, according to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
Now that we are in what the task force calls a “critical situation,” it’s all in the hands of the people.
The government assured many times that the situation was under control. We believed.
The government advised that it was not necessary to wear face masks. We followed.
The government said a lockdown was highly unlikely. We trusted.
The government dropped the ball and now the ball is suddenly in the people’s court.
The Los Angeles Times carried a new report which screamed: Singapore from “gold standard” to a coronavirus “explosion.”
How swell! When there is an explosion, not only are the people to shoulder the responsibility, they are to be taught a lesson. We were told warnings would be issued for those flouting rules. Then within 24 hours, no more warning, fines would be imposed for first-time offenders.
Sure, it is incumbent on people to follow the lockdown measures, it is incumbent on people to be socially responsible.
However, there will always be bad apples. They, the recalcitrant ones, deserve to get punished.
But let’s face it, these new rules take some getting used to and some actually inadvertently cross the line. The one-metre social distancing rule, for example, is one that many people unwittingly breach.
It was just a few short weeks ago that things were looking so upbeat. Singaporeans were frequently being reminded that the World Health Organisation had singled out the country for praise in its handling of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong even went on CNN to answer such questions: Tells us what you think Singapore got right? What do you think is the key to your success?
To be fair, PM Lee said that he would “hesitate to talk about success because we are right in the midst of a battle, which is intensifying.”
All the more important now that the situation has turned critical, the government must work hand-in-hand with the people to get through the crisis.
There must be no blame game. There will inevitably be more deaths. This must not be attributed to the people’s behaviour.
After all, we did not cause an explosion of cases in foreign worker dormitories. We did not decide that mask-wearing was unnecessary. We did not decide that a lockdown should not have been imposed earlier.