Insane ministers

I made the following post – The ministers made a bad judgment when they start the circuit breaker. They are insane for extending it.

Why do I say this?
At the start of the corona virus epidemic in China, PM Lee said that the fatality rate of the virus was 0.2% among the infected people. This was twice the rate of the common flu. I agreed with him about this statistic.

The government made strenuous efforts on contact tracing. I felt that they were overboard in this effort. Why give so much attention to a virus that have a low fatality rate?

Anyway, I am used to a government that likes to blow things out of proportion. It is their bad judgment.

The turning point came when they found a large number of foreign workers had been infected. It became difficult to continue the contract tracing effort.

The government decided to lockdown the economy. The coined a new term – circuit breaker. I do not know why they did not use the term Dorscon Red, which they had planned several years earlier.

They changed the narrative to avoid panic among the people.

In my view, it was the ministers who had panicked and acted hastily in calling for the circuit breaker.

The circuit breaker measures caused a heavy toll on the economy and on the livelihood of the people. The government spent over $60 billion under several stimulus measures. It does not count the losses suffered by hundreds of thousand people whose livelihoods were seriously affected by these measures. The total cost is horrendous.

Was there an alternative approach that could be taken by the ministers?

If they had acted calmly and rationally, they could have waited a while before deciding on a costly circuit breaker.

At that time, it was quite clear that among the small handful of cases that were reported, the virus did not cause any serious harm. Just a few had died and they were elderly and had pre-existing conditions. This situation does not justify the extreme and costly measures.

Alternatively, they could have acted to isolate the protect the vulnerable population, insteading of locking down the entire country.

Similarly, the fear of “overwhelming the hospital system” was overblown and unjustified in the light of the information available at that time.

Even if there were large increases in the number of infections, it could be handled without serious consequences. China had already shown the way. They created temporary hospitals and isolation facilities within a matter of two or three weeks.

Towards the end of the first month of the circuit breaker, the ministers decided to extend the lockdown by another month. In my view, it was an insane decision.

At that time, it was already quite clear that the virus did not cause much harm. Among the large numbers (20,000 or so) of foreign workers that were infected, the majority did not develop any illness that required hospital treatment. Only a small handful, if any, needed intensive care.

The ministers could have ended the circuit breaker for the general community and confine the foreign workers, until they were tested to be free of virus.

Although the number of new cases continued to increase, it was quite clear that this was the outcome of large scale testing. As more people are tested, more people are detected to have the virus.  But the evidence was clear that the inflections were mild. People were not dropping down like flies.

The government expanded the isolation facilities. They created more than 20,000 places to house the workers under isolation. It was done with the typical efficiency of a military organization and completed within a short time.

It was a commendable effort, but not exemplary. Most countries could manage this kind of undertaking with similar success.

There was no need to have the overblown fear of “overwhelming the hospital system”.

After two months, the ministers has now decided to relax the circuit breaker in three phases. It is evidence of their continuing insanity.

They ignore the heavy toll on the people and their livelihoods. By their insane decisions, they have damaged the livelihood and future of several hundred of thousand people and businesses, and it was quite unnecessary.

Were the ministers acting in the laudable goal of saving lives? Hardly. Their insane actions probably caused more deaths in delays in treating the other seriously ill patients and the deterioration of mental health of people who lost their income and livelihood. But these deaths were unrecorded and will never be tracked.

I know that some people may not agree with me, as they were taken in by the narrative of the government.

Recently, there were many voices from other countries that point out the negative consequences of the lockdown strategy. I agree with that view.

Tan Kin Lian




4 Responses to “Insane ministers”

  • PAP mandate strong:

    Korea, japan and …sg ( exclude foreign workers ) … showing signs of stabilizing. Foreign workers mostly recovered ( herd immunity actually works ? ).

    A hefty price but bearing some fruits even not perfection.

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  • Impact:

    The CB has caused Hugh destruction to wealth,business and livelihood .
    Much of the hard earned reserve build by the PG and MG lost…
    $99B and still counting…
    Expensive lesson for Singapore…
    Could we do better ? Other countries like NZ and Taiwan seem to have done better.

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  • cwong:

    kiasu and kiasi ministers of 4G will nv make the grade. we pay them to take difficult decisions and they are not doing it, why hv ministers and lesders then? if you want to wait and wait, any fool knows the prob will eventually and naturally solve itself; like that, u and i also can be ministers la. dare not decide cos dare not make mistakes and lose their high salaries. tt s the high salaries backfiring. useless lot. i will never belive what they say after fiasco after fiasco ,right from the dont wear mask beginning. no initiatives, no good judgement. Vietnam, nv mind hk, korea. taiwan and nz can even do mmmmmmmuch better than us. just imagine. u vote them u endorse their huge billion-dollar-causing errors, but sinkies are a forgiving lot, i discovered to my dismay and anger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Tracey Ching:

    Ah Tan, for once you were right. Singapore is in lockdown mode for 3 months, April, May & June. Why? Because the June 2 1st phase is in effect, another month of lockdown because a lot of things cannot be done. The stupidity of the government is obvious.

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