Singapore To Adopt Restraint Approach And Monitor Number Of Serious Covid-19 Infections
On Friday (11 Sep), the Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) addressed concerns about the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and said the next few weeks will be crucial for our next course of action.
Later in the day, MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong posted a video on his social media platforms, answering questions that netizens had posed to the authorities.
In the short video, he reaffirms Singapore’s plans on reopening but said we have to monitor the number of serious infections for the time being.
Number of serious Covid-19 infections remain key indicators
In a 5-minute video posted on Friday (10 Sep), Finance Minister Lawrence Wong responded to 3 questions posted on social media.
The first question came from a member of the public who’s of the view that Singapore should not backtrack in spite of the high Covid-19 case numbers, so long as the number of seriously ill individuals is under control.
In response, Mr Wong agreed that the number of Covid-19 patients who require oxygen or ICU care remains the key indicator. However, he pointed out that there’s a lag time of about 2 weeks between one getting infected and developing serious symptoms.
So even though these figures remain low for now, we cannot assume this to be the case moving forward.
Citing the situation in Israel, Mr Wong said the recent wave of infections has caused a spike in ICU cases there and about 25 Covid-19 casualties daily.
Aware of such a possibility, the authorities are hence adjusting our healthcare protocols and ensuring we have sufficient capacity for such a scenario.
Not ruling out ‘last resort’ measures completely
The 2nd question pertains to serious lockdown measures such as the ‘Circuit Breaker’ or Heightened Alert.
While one netizen was not a fan of these tightened measures, another said they didn’t mind them as long as they prevent a sharp surge in cases.
Mr Wong said while the authorities treat opinions from both camps seriously, the government is now attempting to suppress cases without implementing these ‘last resort’ measures.
That’s because Singapore is in a different situation now from that earlier in the pandemic. With one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, the majority of Singaporeans are protected against the coronavirus.
Having said that, Mr Wong did not rule out such ‘last resort’ measures completely, saying we might have to implement them if our healthcare system becomes overwhelmed.
S’pore will adopt restraint approach for the time being
The last question has to do with the easing of measures and why the authorities are not following through with them despite our high vaccination rate.
Responding to this, Mr Wong reaffirmed Singapore’s plan on living with the Covid-19 virus. However, the number of seriously ill Covid-19 patients must also be taken into account.
He shared that this is the first time Singapore has faced exponential growth in our Covid-19 case figures.
Repeating his earlier response, Mr Wong said other countries with high vaccination rates have seen an increase in severely ill cases and even deaths, following a sharp spike in infections.
In consultation with experts, the MTF collective agreed that Singapore ought to adopt a restraint approach.
This will include attempts at slowing down infections while monitoring the situation in our healthcare system.
Hope S’poreans will give authorities more time to monitor situation
Given how long the Covid-19 pandemic has plagued our lives, it’s only understandable for Singaporeans to feel constricted and frustrated about the measures that are still in place.
However, what’s most important now is the number of seriously ill cases, which may overwhelm our healthcare system if they were to spike over a short period.
We hope Singaporeans will be patient and understanding, allowing the authorities more time to investigate the relationship between our daily case count and the number of patients with severe symptoms.
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Featured image adapted from Lawrence Wong on Facebook.