by Robin Low
I am quite concerned about the situation of COVID-19 in Singapore. Yes, compared to the United States, Singapore is doing a better job, and if you look at the deaths, I’d say Singapore’s good healthcare system is probably worth its weight in gold for having so many infections and so little deaths.
Looking at the data, the bulk of Singapore’s infection comes from its foreign workers that live in close proximity and possibly unsanitary conditions that accounted for the quick spread. The dependence of foreign labor and these mega dorms that boasts their state of the art facilities, but it seems that they still do not stop the infection. But this is also one of the reasons why the infection rates are so high and deaths are so low, because the healthy and young foreign workers are infected, and they are more likely to survive.
Many of the foreign workers are now in other government facilities quarantined. In fact, they are getting more space than before and separated from the rest of the community in Singapore. This may seem like a necessary move as Singapore is home to 1.4 million foreign workers with hundreds of thousands in dorms.
However, the costs are borne by the government and the companies running with dorms with big profit margins seemed to take no responsibility at all.
What I am puzzled now is that the numbers of foreign workers infected did not seem to have come down. They were isolated for more than a month now, which was a good move as there was an exponential spread from worker to worker, which may also endanger the Singapore community.
Many people were unhappy that these foreign workers are now housed in a facility, paid by our tax dollars. The amount spent on running these quarantine facilities is yet to be known, and since it may be another state secret, we might never know.
That aside, I expected to see the number of infections go down, but from the graph and information reported daily, the number of infected people seemed to be relatively constant. So, if the number of new infections is still not coming down, is it due to a lack of testing? I hope more tests are done so all the foreign workers can be tested.
I would like to have a date where EVERYONE in the quarantine facility will be tested, can the government give me such a date? At least if we have that date, it would mean that there will be a sharp fall of new infections after that as ALL the foreign workers will have been tested.
Phase 1: June 2, 2020
I’ve been going to work for a week now, and yes, the roads are busy again, and I’ve heard that the trains are getting crowded. There are strange rules where you cannot eat outside, and social distancing laws in workplaces, but public transportation can be packed and crowded. I don’t understand why there are double standards in safety. Don’t the lives of people taking public transportation matter?
I’ve also seen that the number of daily community infections is around 10 now. With the reopening of school and work, will there be more community spread?
The second wave of infection hit several countries already. In Japan, Korea, they all had ZERO infection for days and when the restrictions are lifted, infections went up.
I have spoken to many business owners in Singapore, the F&B outlets are hit bad and many will be permanently closed. I am not sure how many can survive a second wave if it means lockdown for another month.
I strongly feel that we need strong decisive actions from people who know what they are doing. My current opinion from February 2020 is that there is someone declaring something and everyone falls in place.
The same process like everything the People’s Action Party (PAP) does, where decisions are made, and nothing much changes after that.
When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged residents not to wear surgical masks unless they were unwell, I was surprised that everyone, including the doctors supported this. There were many reports of asymptotic infections and masks seemed effective in controlling the infection.
Next, when the PAP candidates started distributing “face shields”, and when Lee Bee Wah worn a face shield in Parliament, the official stance was that face shields can be used in place of a face mask. But common sense and the understanding of how droplets can cause infections will tell you that the face shield and wrongly worn masks are simply ineffective against the virus. And once again, even the government doctors in the task force did not do anything to correct this. Full Face Shield together with proper disposable surgical masks is the correct way to use it, and it took a while before the government made a U-turn on this again.
I feel that there is something wrong with the system of Groupthink. It seems that when an idea is fixed, it is very hard to get the PAP to change.
For example, for National Day. It seems that the government will give out Fun Packs to everyone this year. It was never given out to everyone before, but because this year could be an election year and possibly, a budget was set aside. They wanted a military parade and fireworks.
In view of the suffering of many different industries and the situation, many Singaporeans including myself signed a petition to get the government to have an opt-in for the Fun Packs. If people really wanted the Fun Packs, they should go to the community clubs to collect, like the way they give out masks. It should be an opt-in as many Singaporeans would probably take no action and get the Fun Packs, only to throw it away.
But despite the petition, the government changed it’s position slightly, allowing an opt-out instead of giving it to everyone.
I am losing confidence on how the crisis is handled. Even when the reserves are being used, and the President which was not elected is supposed to be the guardian of the reserves, a black cheque was given, and the President probably still does not know how much exactly in dollars and cents Singapore has in the reserves while disbursing it out.
The system of checks and balances is missing and from this COVID-19 crisis, it is getting obvious.
With the new infections still happening, the PAP still wants to hold an election soon. With compulsory voting, the mass gathering event will be a prime cause of infection, which will not only affect the health of Singaporeans, businesses will also be infected if we have a third wave due to the infections. Then more money from the reserves will be used to support Singaporeans.
Please don’t cause a problem in the first place.