Image: Orchard Road Singapore should be back to normal soon. Credit: visitsingapore.com
Singapore is preparing a blueprint for living with Covid-19. After almost 18 months battling the pandemic, the Singapore government has stated, it believes that the corona virus will not be eliminated and will become endemic in the near future.
According to the government statement reported by Kompas, Singaporeans must be able to carry out normal activities living with Covid-19 without having to undergo quarantines and lockdowns. Endemic means that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will not go away and will continue to exist around humans and global populations for years to come, similar to the flu.
This also means that Covid-19 outbreaks may continue to occur from time to time. Within an endemic phase, the number of infections remains relatively constant over the years, with occasional relapses.
Singapore’s Covid-19 task force stated that Covid-19 would be treated like other endemic diseases such as influenza and chickenpox.
The key to living with Covid-19 is vaccination.
Singapore is actively boosting vaccination efforts with a target of two-thirds of its citizens receiving the first dose by August 9. Currently 80,000 people are vaccinated every day.
Vaccination has been proven to reduce infection rates and the spread of Covid-19. The majority of vaccine recipients infected with the virus also did not show any symptoms or only experienced mild symptoms.
The statement also says that Singaporeans should be vaccinated regularly from year to year.
Blueprint New Normal Covid-19
The blueprint that is being prepared, reported by The Straits Times, will serve as a guide for a new normal for living with Covid-19.
This includes, international flights resuming and vaccinated people not needing to quarantine with a Covid-19 negative test.
The first step is expected to start by launching a travel bubble with a number of countries that have managed to control the spread of the pandemic, such as Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
Foreign workers such as domestic helpers and construction workers are expected to return to Singapore.
Sectors of the economy that rely heavily on foreign workers are currently overwhelmed by labor shortages.
Crowded events such as Independence Day celebrations, New Year’s parties, sports competitions, music concerts will also be back on the agenda.
People who have been vaccinated can gather again in large numbers without having to keep their distance.
The focus of the Covid-19 infection rate will be shifted to patients with severe symptoms, especially those treated in intensive care.
In the future, infected residents can undergo recovery or isolation in their own homes without having to be hospitalized.
Singapore is currently undergoing a transition towards a return to the new normal after lifting the partial lockdown that was in place from 16 May to 13 June.
Residents can come back together with a maximum of five people and eat with a maximum of two people.
Singapore was rocked by the Delta variant of Covid-19 infection at the end of last April and went into lockdown type restrictions until June 13.
During the previous 10 months, the local infection rate was consistently close to zero.
The current number of communal Covid-19 cases is consistently between 10-20 cases per day with the largest cluster being in the Bukit Merah Market and Food Center in Central Singapore.
The latest data in Singapore is that there have been 62,530 cases, of which 143 people or 0.23 percent are currently hospitalized.
A total of 170 people or 0.27 percent are undergoing recovery in isolation facilities.
The mortality rate remains one of the lowest in the world, at 36 patients or 0.06 percent.[As the story states above, the key for the endemic phase to begin is when enough people are vaccinated. It isn’t clear exactly when that will be. Ed.]