New measures are now in place to segregate travellers from “very high-risk” countries, and better protect and more stringently test workers in the highest-risk zone at the Changi Airport.
Just this Wednesday (26 May), the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) will be required to present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before returning or transiting through Singapore.
These measures come weeks after the Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster that kick-started the latest wave of infections that have wreaked havoc on the country.
Better late than never, you might say.
But all the warning signs were there; many people sounded alarm bells, and other countries had already taken pre-emptive measures.
Yet action has been slow in coming – reactive and pro-active, relying on the belated benefit of hindsight and not the value-add of foresight.
Is this the new normal for the People’s Action Party (PAP) government?
The same thing happened with the COVID-19 cases at migrant worker dormitories. All the warning signs were not heeded; people with good intentions were sounding the alarm but to no avail.
Instead, action was taken to address the congested, squalid, and sordid living conditions only after the explosion of COVID-19 cases among migrant workers.
Again, reactive and not pro-active; again relying on hindsight.
We can go way back to the start of the pandemic. No need to wear mask, we were told. Go out and visit attractions and try staycations, we were advised. Don’t worry, the country will not be locked down – unlike other countries.
What happened shortly after? After new measures were imposed, there was an all-out effort to catch and penalise people for not wearing masks, for not social distancing, for violating any of the new rules.
The irony shouldn’t escape any of us – the authorities excel at enforcement action but not at prevention. Only AFTER the fire, then they start looking for equipment to fight the fire.
It has happened far too often for us to ask if this is now the new normal – always playing catch-up instead of staying ahead of the game.