Singapore has been doing a stellar job containing the Coronavirus. The approach our Government mapped has gained international recognition, was praised by WHO and even had Dr Deborah Birx trying to steal some credit for the Trump administration, by saying that Singapore followed the steps mapped out by their President. Indeed, despite Singapore being one of the top destination for Wuhan residence just before their lockdown, the virus situation here was pretty much under control, till the second wave of imported cases came from all parts of the world.

24 March 2020 Further Tightening Measures

On 24 March 2020, the Government introduced further tightening measures, essentially suspending all events and mass gatherings, religious services, tuition and enrichment classes, bars and entertainment venues. Malls, tourist attractions and F&B outlets remain open but with social distancing measures (e.g 1 metre apart queues and sitting arrangements etc) and group size limit of 10 or less.

Are These Measures Sufficient?

The question is – are these measures enough? Perhaps so, if the intention is to flatten the curve and ensure that at any point in time, there are enough hospital beds to treat the infected. By implementing these measures, our Government is perhaps trying to ensure that less people will come into close contact with infected persons as there will be less people per unit of floor space. It will thus likely have an impact of slowing down the numbers infected on a daily basis and over a period of time, control the rate of spread.

But individually, it’s still possible that you will get infected, if you are unlucky enough to come in contact with an infected person 1 metre away, especially in an enclosed aircon environment. Here’s why…

Coronavirus Can Travel Up to 4.5m and Remain Airborne for Up to 3 hours!

A study from China has shown that the virus can travel and infect a person sitting as far as 4.5 metres away, in an aircon bus. Interestingly, everyone on the bus wearing a mask were spared the infection. Another separate research, indicates that the coronavirus can remain airborne for as long as 3 hours if conditions are right.

So Stay At Home, Folks

Given the above, the best way to keep yourself safe is to avoid going out unnecessarily. Dine in, watch netflix and learn to enjoy the company of your loved ones instead.

And perhaps if you wish to leave the house, wearing a mask may be prudent after all. But again, like the authorities have said, it is also not full-proof.

4 thoughts on “Are Singapore’s Social Distancing Measures Enough to Combat Covid-19?”

  1. I think the government has been trying to do their best to balance between economy and safety. Unfortunately, many people are taking it for granted, including not adhering to the circuit-breaker measures. Stricter implementation may be needed if people continue to ignore the guidelines. We don’t want to get to that, because that would be the kind of draconian measures that happened in Wuhan, Italy, etc. I hope everyone plays their part and follows the circuit-breaker guidelines, and make the job of the government, and our healthcare workers, easier.

    1. Well said Ricky. It’s really about balancing the economy and the pandemic. Individually, some people may already be thinking, if the coronavirus does not kill me, maybe bankruptcy will.
      That said, the good news is that community spread appears to be on the decline, an early indication perhaps that circuit breaker measures are working. So hopefully like you mentioned, we don’t have to take more drastic measures.

      The dorms remain a concern though. Hope they are able to test and segregate the healthy from the sick soonest. It’s not right to keep the healthy in dorms where infection is spreading like wild fire; it’s like being on the diamond princess. Only this time, it’s on land.

  2. Whatever happened had happened. We responded a little bit too late. The message from the authority initially was Don’t wear a mask if you’re fine and now If you don’t wear a mask, you’ll be fined! The initial message gave an impression that everything is under control and now seems like it is out of control. I think most important is for everyone to built up a good immune system to protect oneself and of course to stay at home. Take care of those senior citizens as they’re more prone to the infections. There is a price to pay for every decision we made in life and this is the situation now. We should think about how life moving forward after this pandemic. How we should show our appreciation to our healthcare personnel who stand by their position to take care of patients in this difficult times. I think we will come up stronger and the challenge is to jump start the economy again for a better future for all Singaporeans.

    1. Like this – “Don’t wear a mask if you’re fine and now If you don’t wear a mask, you’ll be fined! ” It’s so true; humourous as well. That’s why with this article, I was hinting that mask is needed, before it became the Government’s official stance.

      Yes, the old and the vulnerable should all be looked after. The saddest situation now is the foreign workers; most are poor, came here to provide their loved ones with a better live. They deserve better.

      So happy to hear the Bangladeshi worker who spent 2 months in ICU is recovering well; he has a new born baby boy and wife back home waiting for him.

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