After months of recording near-zero infections, Singapore has witnessed a sharp rise in domestic Covid cases over the past few weeks. With 11 new active clusters, authorities are consistently reminding citizens to abide by all the safety regulations.
In fact, according to a CNA report, Lawrence Wong, Minister for Education who addressed the Parliament on Tuesday (May 11) said, "Singapore is ‘on a knife’s edge and our community case numbers can go either way over the next few weeks."
Plus, preschools and early intervention centres are also now following strict entry rules.
So naturally, as parents this situation might have gotten you a bit stressful. Just when you thought the pandemic was about under control in Singapore and normalcy was back, cases have started spiking.
But, don't panic just yet. If you follow specific rules laid by the authorities, Singapore's recovery can become a reality sooner than we expected.
Here's what you need to know about the current situation on the island.
Singapore Safety Regulations: "Singapore May Have to Learn to Live With COVID"
Image source: iStock
The leaders on Tuesday cautioned that with the emergence of new strains, Covid-19 may become endemic and the country may have to end up living with it.
It was further highlighted that unlike countries such as China and Australia that had the luxury to adopt tighter border restrictions, Singapore – a small and open economy – could not shut itself off forever.
The only way out from the current situation is for people to follow the Singapore safety regulations diligently.
The minister said, “We are a little red dot, fully plugged into the world, and trade and travel are our lifeblood. For us, these are not just good to have. They are existential issues."
In a ministerial statement on the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wong said Singapore has a chance of “getting things under control” by the end of the month.
But he further alerted, "As we know from experience, it only takes one lapse or one irresponsible action for an infection to happen; and that infection may end up being a super-spreader event in the community."
Singapore records high number of Covid cases
The gradual uptick of the cases is indeed concerning. Singapore recorded 13 locally transmitted cases on Tuesday, thus taking the number of domestic infections to 78 this month. This is higher than the 55 cases logged in April and way higher than just 9 cases recorded in March.
In fact, Singapore has detected several variants in both local and imported infections, including the B. 1.617 strain that was first identified in India. The variant has already spread to more than 30 countries.
Taking this into account, Minister Wong added that “a full suite” of protective community measures is needed. Because even the tightest of border controls might still see imported cases leaking into the country.
Earlier this month, the little red dot introduced a slew of strict measures to curb the virus. For instance, people will be allowed to gather only in groups of five, down from eight.
These restrictions also apply to households, which will be able to receive only five distinct visitors a day. In addition to this, more people are allowed to work from home. These measures are in place till May 30.
Singapore Safety Regulations: Steps To Curb Spread
Wong further suggested that there will be some occasions when more general movement restrictions will be done, like the TTSG cluster example. He acknowledged the fact that such measures pose “considerable inconvenience” to Singaporeans.
Keeping in mind the number of holidays in May, he urged people to exercise caution and safety always.
For the Malay-Muslim community, people will have to observe strict rules during Hari Raya and curtail their normal family visits. Similar rules will also have to be followed by the Buddhist community during Vesak Day.
He urged cooperation from the residents to abide by the rules. People were once again asked to work from home and cut back on social activities during the tightened movement restrictions.
Singapore Is Better Prepared This Time
Vaccination drive is going with full force in Singapore. Image courtesy: iStock
Singapore now has one of the highest vaccination rate in Asia. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong revealed as of May 9th, 1.2 million people in Singapore had been totally vaccinated.
In addition to this, 1.8 million people have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine since December 2020. At present, the city state’s vaccination programme is only open to those aged above 45. Gan however, is hopeful that it would be progressively extended to younger residents from the end of May.
Singapore currently uses the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
The testing capacity has also been ramped up. The current lab capacity to test is up to 73,000 per day, or even more with pooled testing.
The Education Minister highlighted that if the country acts swiftly to contain cases, test, and if all exercise individual and social responsibility, the spread of the virus can be suppressed.
He said, "We’ve brought down infection rates in the community before, and we can do it again this time."
"This is not a Chinese virus or an Indian variant. This is a global pandemic"
The leaders ramped up their calls for residents to be vaccinated. Minister Wong urged people to not spread misinformation and fear during this crisis time.
"This is not a Chinese virus or an Indian variant. This is a global pandemic – the virus and its variants are out there everywhere in the world. There is no place for discrimination, racism or xenophobia here," he said.
Keeping in mind the current situation in the country, it is normal for you to be worried about your kids and their safety. But, it is important to remind your kids constantly about the Singapore safety regulations.
What You Need To Tell Your Kids
Image courtesy: iStock
The reason why you need to be extra careful with your kids is because COVID vaccination for this demography has not kickstarted for Singapore yet.
According to experts, Singapore will not be able to achieve herd immunity unless kids are vaccinated. Till our kids become eligible for vaccination, we will have to be extra careful.
So in the meantime, here's what you should do:
- Do not believe in any rumours and instead work together to fight the pandemic
- Your kids shouldn't step out of their homes without wearing masks
- Tell them to avoid places that are crowded
- Educate them about the importance of social distancing
- Instil good hygiene habits like washing hands with soaps and sanitiser
- Encourage your child to share with you any discomforts they feel
- Don't take any of the symptoms lightly. If required, rush them to a nearby doctor
- Take care of their diet, include healthy options that are vitamin and mineral-rich
- Pay attention to boosting their immunity
- Ask them to get at least 15 minutes of sun every day. This is vital for vitamin D requirement. If they can't step out in the open. Tell them to sit in the verandah or in an open space that has exposure to sunlight.
By keeping these small precautions in mind, you can stay healthy and safe!
News source: CNA, South China Morning Post
Singaporean Experts Urge People To Be 'Obsessed' With Wearing Masks Amid Rise In COVID-19 Cases
Singapore Will Not Be Able To Achieve Herd Immunity Unless Kids Are Vaccinated