Taiwan TV Show Commends S’pore’s Covid-19 Measures, Highlights Examples Like Free Hospital Bills

Taiwan TV Show Gives Thumbs Up To Singapore’s Covid-19 Response, And It’s One More Reason To Be Proud

After the first Covid-19 cases surfaced in Singapore over Chinese New Year, public anxiety started to climb.

When at one point we had the highest number of cases outside China, all hell broke loose. Cue DORSCON Orange, panic buying, general wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth.

A number of countries/territories, including Taiwan and South Korea, started advising against travel to Singapore, and it seemed that we were in a genuine state of crisis.

But as time passes, and Singapore reports more recoveries each day, the consensus seems to have changed.

The tables have turned, and Singapore isn’t so bad after all

With shocking spikes in new cases, the tables have turned on South Korea, who now has the second highest number outside of China.

The situation has gotten so bad that Singapore has banned new visitors from the land of kimchi and K-pop.

Taiwan, which still maintains a lower number of cases than Singapore (albeit with one death), are starting to acknowledge that we may be doing something special.

While discussing the question of whether Singapore can be a model for Covid-19 response, experts noted that we have had zero deaths so far.

Coming from a country seemingly in crisis, this is a remarkable turnaround other countries can learn from.

Pundits on Taiwan talk show News Tornado said as much during a segment on 28 Feb. You can watch the full video here:

For those whose Mandarin hasn’t gone beyond the primary-school level, here are some things that Singapore has done right, according to the expert commentators:

Air-tight quarantine procedures

When a woman from mainland China was put under quarantine at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore, she posted a video of her experience.

What she revealed was a rigorous regime of safety procedures, including:

  • an air-tight compartment that holds things for the quarantined person
  • two sets of doors connecting one room to another; both doors are never open at the same time
  • items that may have had exposure to the virus first go into a bag for disposal in “biohazard” bins
  • visitors, staff and patients have to take different routes around the facility, so they breathe different air

What’s more all these protective measures did not cost her a cent — the Government graciously covered everything.

A willingness to spend to fight Covid-19

By virtue of footing patients’ bills alone, the expert concluded that we were willing to spend money to fight the virus.

He pointed out that free treatment ensures that potential virus cases will seek medical treatment without hesitating about hospital bills.

Singapore’s first patient posing with hospital staff upon being discharged

A willingness to take strong measures

The expert then raised the example of the Singapore permanent resident who lost his PR status after breaching Stay-Home Notice rules.

He also mentioned the Chinese couple who were charged for allegedly providing false information about their whereabouts, making contact tracing difficult.

In both instances, Singapore’s efficient contact tracing came under the spotlight.

A 140-strong task force works tirelessly around the clock to trace patients’ close contacts. As a result, they have effectively quarantined more than 2,500 people.


Pay cut for political leaders, pay boost for healthcare workers

Meanwhile, the pay cut for political leaders and one-month bonus for frontline medical workers went over well with a commentator from the health industry, who called it a “touching” measure.

The fact that the Government is willing to take such decisive action shows its immense political will to contain the virus, he added.

Image sourced via AFP

While the high pay of our political leaders — a perennial sore point for some — allows them to bear such a pay cut, another expert panelist on the show said that high pay also gives civil servants the “passion” to do their best work, including during contact tracing.

For them to give up a portion of their salary is quite the sacrifice indeed.

Singapore still has a long way to go

While we are indeed proud of the heaps of praises about our Covid-19 response, we shouldn’t get complacent either.

We have to remember that being a small country, we are also more vulnerable, which could be a reason why we’re so garang in trying to contain them.

And it’s also worth noting that being a tiny, mostly cosmopolitan country with a smaller population and few hard-to-reach areas also helps somewhat in containing the virus.

Regardless, we appreciate the country’s positive response to the virus, and hope for the best outcome to all of this.

Feature image adapted from YouTube.

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