Hardly anyone in Singapore is practicing social distancing, according to even the state media Straits Times. People who are coughing and sneezing are still going out in public and only a few are seen wearing a face mask in public.
This is because Singapore thinks the coronavirus is a joke.
The country’s Prime Minister described the coronavirus as “mild” and “no more serious than SARS”. When two person fell victim and died yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singaporeans should “brace themselves” for more deaths. In fact, he gave a longer statement on holding an election in the middle of the outbreak than the single-liner for the two deceased.
4 pieces of disposable face masks were issued to each household two months ago in January and that was it.
Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing goes about telling people not to wear a mask in public, while making snide jokes at Singaporeans behind closed doors. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong make jokes in Parliament while giving an update on the coronavirus.
While the rest of the world are doing their bit containing the virus, the Singapore government still allows foreign arrivals and continue reporting imported cases like nothing happened. Schools are still open and public transport continue to be overcrowded. When neighbour Malaysia bit the bullet and put their country on two weeks quarantine, Singapore still asks for Malaysian workers to commute over.
The Health Ministry even took the audacity to cover up details of the infected, masking facts and reality from the public. Nobody can take precautionary measures even if they wanted to because there is no flight number information from the imported cases or movement information among the infected. Suspect cases who visited the GP clinic asking to be tested, are repeatedly rejected because their conditions were not serious enough.
Singapore will pay the ultimate price for belittling the coronavirus outbreak, and it is probably too late. The daily figures are relatively low only because the Singapore government restricts testing only for serious cases and the rich. Commoners have to visit the GP at least 3 to 5 times before they are allowed for testing.
Singapore is on track to be the next Italy or China, until it starts taking the matter seriously.