strategia Singapore de abordare a pandemiei COVID-19 a fost un succes – cu oscilații
ABC/ Foreign Correspondent, 31.03.20
While the world shuts down in an effort to control the coronavirus pandemic, Singapore is more or less business as usual. Its schools and universities remain open and its restaurants and malls are operating – albeit with fewer customers.
So how has this Island State kept the new coronavirus under control, despite its strong business and cultural links with China?
As we find out in The Singapore Solution, the country was well prepared with a pandemic response plan. Once the world learned of this new coronavirus in December last year, the government acted on it.
Like many Asian countries, Singapore learned about the power of pandemics the hard way. When the deadly SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus spread through north Asia seventeen years ago, governments were unprepared.
SARS killed hundreds of people across Asia, including thirty-three people in Singapore.
“We’ve been preparing for this since SARS…this is something that is firmly etched in Singapore’s medical history”, explains Australian doctor Dale Fisher, an infectious diseases expert who arrived in Singapore during that epidemic and is now part of the team battling the coronavirus.
To beat COVID19, the Singaporeans have set up a network of clinics where symptomatic people can seek advice and if necessary, get sent for testing. Those who are positive are quarantined and tightly monitored.
Singaporeans are being asked to download a tracing app onto their phones. Those who are infected are subject to the ‘contact tracing’ system, where health officials track down all those who’ve had contact with them.
Penalties for breaching these orders can be harsh. “If…they’re caught…there are jail terms”, says Prof. Dale Fisher.
Other measures include temperature checks outside public buildings and schools – those with a high temperature must go home – and clear public health messaging and information.
While the measures might evoke fears of a ‘Surveillance State’, they have been successful in flattening the rise of infections. The key to success has been to act fast and comprehensively.
Despite their success so far, authorities remain vigilant. As Singaporeans flock home to escape outbreaks elsewhere, the number of cases has begun to rise again. The government is tightening it’s polices and already the pandemic plan is being updated. Critics are asking if it’s enough.
Singapore is the model for how to handle the coronavirus – MIT Tech Rreview, 12.03.20
The key features: quick action, extensive testing, and relentless tracking.
(…) Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore, was a visionary statesman, both strongman and technocrat. Revered here as founder, leader, truth-teller, and symbol of the young nation, he created the playbook for modern Singapore, including among other things a commitment to transparency, a belief in the power of reason over superstition, and a love of cleanliness. All these have combined to create Singapore’s world-leading response to the coronavirus that emerged in China at the end of last year, spreading rapidly around the globe over the past two months.
Singapore was hit early, as one of China’s key trading partners. Within a few weeks of the first official notice of “Wuhan flu,” it had a dozen cases. But it very quickly realized that this was more than the seasonal flu, and took rapid action. Primed by experience with the SARS virus of 2002-3, Singapore began carefully tracking cases to find the commonalities that linked them. Within a day, sometimes two, of a new case being detected, the authorities were able to piece together the complex chain of transmission from one person to another, like Sherlock Holmes with a database. As of February, everyone entering a government or corporate building in Singapore had to provide contact details to expedite the process.
It’s not simply the ability to detect the cases and explain why they happened that makes Singapore such a role model in this epidemic; nucleic acid testing kits were rapidly developed and deployed to ports of entry. Within three hours, while individuals are quarantined on-site, officials can confirm whether or not they are infected with the virus before allowing them to enter. (…)