US Is Using Singapore As Example Of How To Mitigate Community Spread, Says Health Secretary
Our little island of Singapore was one of the first few countries to be affected by the Covid-19 virus, with the number of cases here rising steadily after the first case was detected in late January.
While the cases in Singapore kept increasing, the number of infected people in Western countries like the US stayed relatively low — for the time being.
Now that the number of Covid-19 cases in the West is starting to explode – especially in countries like Italy, Germany and France – there might now be recognition from some quarters on Singapore’s great job in keeping the pace of increase in cases relatively slow.
In other words, our work has even been noticed by the United States government.
Singapore mentioned during US Covid-19 taskforce briefing
US Vice-President Mike Pence, who has been tasked to lead his country’s response to the Covid-19 threat, gave a briefing on Monday (2 Mar) to update the public on the efforts to contain the virus.
One of the measures the US will implement is “100% screening” of passengers arriving in the country on direct flights from virus-ravaged countries Italy and South Korea, said Mr Pence, according to a transcript of the briefing on Rev.com.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, speaking on efforts to mitigate the spread within the community, said that the team will be specifically learning from Singapore and Hong Kong:
…We already are working closely with Santa Clara County and the State of Washington… to assist them in thinking through some of the best practices from our pandemic action plan, as well as learnings from Singapore and Hong Kong around the most effective community mitigation efforts.
Such efforts, quoted by Mr Azar, included temporary school closures or even more titrated responses like cancelling assemblies at school while classes continue.
Suspension of school assemblies to be emulated
From this quote, it’s clear that one of the measures that Mr Azar’s team has taken note of is Singapore’s suspension of assemblies, mass celebrations, camps, and other large-scale group activities from 5 Feb.
This was fairly early on in our outbreak, when our number of cases was just 24.
Although Singapore didn’t shut down schools, the suspension of mass gatherings while schools remain open could have played a part in Singapore avoiding a huge jump in our number of cases like Italy, South Korea, and Iran.
Something that we can be proud of
Amid this challenging period, it’s comforting to know that despite being a tiny country, we are doing the best we can to ensure the safety of our residents.
Being the gold standard in Covid-19 detection is one feather in our cap, and a significant way to keep the virus at bay.
Now, that a superpower like the US can look to us for inspiration in containing Covid-19 is undoubtedly something else that we can proud of.
Let’s hope that others can use the knowledge gleaned from our experiences to slow the spread of the virus in their countries, and eventually stop it for good. After all, if we can contribute even just a bit to fighting the virus in the world, all the effort will be worth it.