The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported yesterday (27 Jul) that there were 15 imported cases of COVID-19. This is the first time the number of imported cases has hit a record high of 2-digit figure since the start of Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening on 19 Jun last month.
Of the 15 imported cases, 2 are Singaporeans and 2 are Dependant’s Pass holders who returned from India. The remaining 7 Work Pass and 4 Work Permit holders “from India or the Philippines”. Work Pass holders would include Employment Pass and S-Pass holders.
In the past week (18 – 25 Jul), out of 37 of imported COVID-19 cases in Singapore, 29 are people returning from India (‘Majority of SG’s imported COVID-19 cases from India; Indian govt says no community transmission‘). They include Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, Work Pass holders and Dependant Pass holders
Failure of India’s healthcare system
The number of COVID-19 cases in India appears to be exploding out of control.
In a recent CNN article, it revealed the failure of India’s healthcare system to cope with COVID-19 (‘Covid-19 has exposed India’s failure to deliver even the most basic obligations to its people‘, 19 Jul).
Days before India lifted its nationwide lockdown on June 1, India’s health ministry issued a press statement triumphantly highlighted how other countries were worse than India in terms of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Fewer than 60 days later, however, India has exceeded a million cases. It is now third on the Johns Hopkins University tally of country cases, following the US and Brazil. Far from flattening the curve, India’s graph of transmission has skyrocketed exponentially. Furthermore, India has a low level of testing, currently hovers at around 9 per 1,000, compared to 128 per 1,000 in the US. And many of the deaths in India are not registered, let alone medically certified.
Safer to get treatment in Singapore
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi, three of the more prosperous states, now account for more than half the case count in India. The many tragedies caused by India’s sorry state of healthcare system are symbolized by the death of 30-year-old pregnant woman Neelam Kumari Gautam after she was denied treatment in eight Delhi hospitals. It is the result of more than 70 years of poor governance and neglect of its healthcare system, CNN noted.
Aside from healthcare, India also has issues delivering clean water to its people. In combating COVID-19, for example, doctors and health officials have been urging people to wash their hands often. Yet in 2019, only 1 in 5 Indian households had piped water to their homes. Every second home depends on water from wells, unprotected water bodies or tanker water with 70 per cent of the water contaminated. India ranked 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.
Given the sorry affairs of India’s healthcare system, those infected people who returned from India will probably have a much higher chance of survival getting treatment in Singapore than in India.
Correction: The article has been edited to omit the breakdown of MOH as the annex contains the breakdown