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They need to put their money where their mouth is

“While the promise of easier travel for the vaccinated sparked jubilation in Singapore, the question remains if its leaders will actually take what will be a leap of faith for a nation where even one locally-transmitted Covid case makes the front page.

To do that, it’s trying to snuff out an outbreak driven by the delta variant and reach a vaccination level — 80% — that few countries have achieved, but which the government says will put Singapore in a position where it can live with the virus without carnage.

They earlier pledged to begin easing restrictions once half the population was vaccinated; that milestone came and went on July 19.

“At this stage, given the multitude of public statements on the vaccination coverage, the government has not really given themselves much room to manoeuvre,” said Nydia Ngiow, Singapore-based senior director at BowerGroupAsia, a strategic policy advisory firm.

They need to put their money where their mouth is and make the steps towards an endemic Covid-19 once we hit the 80% threshold, or risk being held accountable.”

Singapore’s hesitation in opening up, despite vaccination levels that would be the envy of much of the world, reflects the conundrum its traditionally cautious leaders find themselves in.

The rise of the delta variant and evidence that vaccinations may offer less protection against infection by new strains led officials to question the safety of their earlier plans.

If Singapore pulls off its pivot, it’ll provide a template for Covid Zero places that include mainland China, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, to rejoin the world. Yet it also risks becoming a cautionary tale.

“Will there be deaths? Yes. Is there a threshold that will cause the government to waver? There should be one if the government is sensible,” said Jeremy Lim, associate professor at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore.

If new variants of concern emerge, particularly any that are more dangerous than the delta strain, or if hospitalizations and deaths far exceed anticipated numbers, then dialing back the reopening plan “would not only be technically correct, but also morally an imperative,” he said.

“No country has demonstrated that it has sufficiently high levels of immunization so that the virus cannot replicate enough to survive in the community in circulation,” said Harvey Fineberg, a former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and ex-president of the US National Academy of Medicine.

“The more transmissible the virus becomes, the harder it is to achieve that level of community protection, because the highly transmissible virus is better able to find someone that it can infect and then infect yet another.”

The point of regret and reversal could come faster than expected, as the most recent spate of infections show how gun-shy the Singapore government can be.

A series of linked clusters found at a fishery port and karaoke lounges resulted in local cases reaching a record high.

The outbreaks were an opportunity for Singapore to move beyond its “Covid Zero” approach.

But Singapore blinked. Instead of sticking with its reopening plan, the rising number of cases that had spread into wet markets frequented by locals, particularly the elderly, prompted the government to re-impose restrictions lifted just four days earlier, such as banning dining-in.

For now, government leaders say they’re unlikely to stray from the course again after the current clusters come under control. Among average citizens, there’s growing frustration over the slow walk.

 

Roy Ngerng

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

17 Responses to “They need to put their money where their mouth is”

  • Soccerbetting2:

    Reported on Straits Times :Quote-”Protesters in downtown Kuala Lumpur demand PM Muhyiddin’s resignation

    Protesters are calling for a full parliamentary sitting and automatic bank loan moratoriums to ease Covid-19 fuelled hardship.PHOTO: GM

    Hazlin Hassan
    Malaysia Correspondent
    UPDATED6 SEC AGO
    FACEBOOKWHATSAPP
    KUALA LUMPUR – Several hundred protesters marched peacefully in Kuala Lumpur’s city centre on Saturday (July 31) to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

    Roads around Merdeka Square, where National Day parades were often held, have been sealed off as protesters dressed in black took to the streets. The demonstration was organised by a coalition of youth and civil society groups, called the Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (People’s Solidarity Secretariat).

    Some brought mock corpses wrapped in white cloth to symbolise the high number of daily Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia, in a criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic.

    The coalition is also calling for a full parliamentary sitting and automatic bank loan moratoriums to ease hardship fuelled by the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.

    Traffic police and plainclothes police were seen standing by at the scene, The Star reported. Some marshals donning white safety hats and medics wearing red safety hats were also present.

    City police chief Azmi Abu Kassim warned that those who violated Covid-19 health protocols would face police action….

    According to The Star, the Commissioner, Datuk Azmi, said the police have not received any application or notice from the organising committee of the proposed gathering….

    “Under the Movement Control Order, no public assemblies are allowed including social gatherings, and sports activities,” Mohamad Zainal Abdullah, police chief for Dang Wangi district, told a news conference.

    “This failed government’s inhumane treatment of those that fight for a better Malaysia is what keeps hurting us Malaysians, when their job is supposedly to protect us. This is why we #lawan (fight),” she wrote on Twitter on Friday (July 30).

    The protest comes as PM Muhyiddin faces a constitutional crisis amid pressure to step down after clashing with the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah….”Unquote.

    Response :It is very clear that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is unlikely to survive his PM position soon unless there is a miracle. I do think PM Muhyiddin Yassin is quite a likeable type in Malaysia chinese society but the pandemic is likely to make him fall .Both Muhyiddin and Taiwan woman President has been strongly criticise in tik tok recently ! Now even Thailand covid-19 is reported to be over 18000+ more than Malaysia 17000+ ! If Singapore open up the tourism ,Singapore will be doomed death in no time !

    Today,evil backside Ang Mo supermarket women wing selling old cucumber at super high price at $3.50 think per kg basis . Pui ! Used to be around $1.20 before covid-19 !Pui!

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  • oxygen:

    @ Roy, my take is that Singapore WON’T PULL of a miracle on this one, more likely the risks outcome of a cautionary tale of sudden turn back in escalating failure.

    Why?

    Roy Ngerng:If Singapore pulls off its pivot, it’ll provide a template for Covid Zero places that include mainland China, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, to rejoin the world. Yet it also risks becoming a cautionary tale

    CDC in US has evidence of vaccinated and unvaccinated has the same virus load. The recent days of community spread in SGP escalating at an accelerating rate DESPITE MORE THAN 50% VACCINATION LEVEL ACHIEVED. That is proving up that infection among vaccinated and its transmission to community (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) is GREATER THAN UNITY (one on one).

    In fact, if I am NOT mistaken, the community spread is never so fast of accelerated runaway AND LOOKING FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ACCELERATED VACCINATION ALREADY ACHIEVED, the numbers looks alarmingly worrying that the virus have already out fought the hoped for vaccination outcome.

    Australia has extended its lockdown in NSW and watching closely Victoria – they know the risks in Covid Delta.

    Sgp should not be hero taking the lead in opening up – the human and catastrophic economic setback if forced into a desperate last minute survival pullback of lockdown (now seemingly increasingly likely I fear).

    And I think this is GLOBAL, not confined to Sgp of risks. The protests in KL, will spread to Indonesia, Thailand because people are very angry at no outcome achieved in the lock downs and vaccination drives. If I am investing in these Asean markets, I would sell out nearly all by now, waiting for the biggest storm to come to pass over of spillover contagion.

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  • big fart:

    Thanks CECA-FTs for DELTA.
    And,thank PAP for dumping them here over past several months.
    Now,Delta is happily conquering the tiny island,from glitzy KTVs to Jurong Fishery.

    Fish mongers n ministers make big bucks.

    New clusters here n there.
    See,how clever Lhl n his MTF ministers are!

    Pls applaud them.
    OYK MUST BE MADE PEE-m.
    He has PEE on his daft countenance.
    The more U look at him,the more I feel like vomiting.

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  • uselesstankinl:

    But SG needs to be HERO,

    OTHERWISE HOW TO GET 15 MONTHS OF BONUSES FOR MINISTERS !!!

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  • Smart Nation:

    They say will open up when 70% or more have been vaccinated. Now SG is near to 80% – one of the highest vaccinated rates in the world? They claim they have a strategy to manage the virus – testing, tracing, vaccination, and so on. They will treat it as “endemic” and so it shall be. Businesses will re-open. Everyone back to the office. No more free lunch. It all comes back to wearing your mask, safe distancing and washing your hands!

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  • NotMyProblem:

    With so many locally infection and unlinked cases, Singapore is no more worry about import cases already.

    The multi minister task force allowed the leak to flood Singapore. Singaporeans are now suffering to clean up the flood, at a very high cost.

    Soon the virus would mutate to Delta ++ variant. Just wait for it.

    How are we going to do testing, tracing and vaccination? It will just going in a continuous circle!! Vaccination and boosters!!

    Every one, please be prepared with your luggage of clothing. Any time you would be informed to go into quarantine with short notice.

    Don’t be caught without your under wears!!

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  • opposition dude:

    PAP can have grand plans on reopening our borders but will other countries follow suit? No point opening your borders to all but your citizens can’t travel to even JB to buy their dirt cheap groceries or to some other countries for a holiday right?

    As has been shown with HK the 2 travel bubbles were shelved. We don’t know when this current wave of 100+ cases will come down. Weeks? Months? It’s a wait and see issue now. Don’t be surprised when the current restrictions are extended by another month into end September.

    PAP can’t quite contain the virus and are planning to declare it endemic. Once this happens we will all be walking around without masks and no safe distancing. Back to office will be default with overcrowded trains daily. And when cases shoot up you can bet your HDB that the unvaccinated will be blamed for it once again.

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  • Better safe than sorry:

    Now better safe than sorry.
    This Virus very smart one…Vaccine no fight. Vaccinated also can kena again.
    Better take extra precaution now.
    Give more support to those badly affected.
    Look at other countries…Don’t play play.

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  • Smart Nation:

    It looks like Covid-19 in SG is a “slow-release” variant. 100+ cases a day. Malaysia and Thailand should learn from SG on how to manage the virus so that it will not spread so quickly.

    Tech: That’s a good one! I am tempted to think that the PAPies have made a pact with the Delta-V, one day can only bite so many people, then take a break and come back tomorrow.

    Honestly, until today, I still don’t believe the stats released by the MOH, noticed how ‘beautiful’ the figures are, everyday also 100 plus minus. No fluctuations whatsoever.

    I could offer plenty of reasons as to why this is fo, but the agencies would not be happy. Main reason being “massaged and controlled”. lol

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  • Without the edlerlies, win?:

    Can they win without elderlies votes after the perfect storm?

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  • Rod:

    Covid like people not to Be too worry about its present.people,you do your opening and economy,I (covid) do my spreading.k.

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  • Smart Nation:

    Smart Nation:
    It looks like Covid-19 in SG is a “slow-release” variant. 100+ cases a day. Malaysia and Thailand should learn from SG on how to manage the virus so that it will not spread so quickly.

    Tech: That’s a good one! I am tempted to think that the PAPies have made a pact with the Delta-V, one day can only bite so many people, then take a break and come back tomorrow.

    Honestly, until today, I still don’t believe the stats released by the MOH, noticed how ‘beautiful’ the figures are, everyday also 100 plus minus. No fluctuations whatsoever.

    I could offer plenty of reasons as to why this is fo, but the agencies would not be happy. Main reason being “massaged and controlled”. lol

    When you look at the crazy numbers in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, it does look highly suspicious even if you want to believe it it is true.

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  • @Smart Nation

    Pick ANY country in the world, including China and look at their daily figures and infection rate from a single source. Then compare this to the stats provided by the MOH.

    Maybe take Hong Kong, where the size and population are almost similar, or maybe Malaysia, where the temperature is identical. Throw in Australia and make a comparison where only 1 single source (cluster) is identified, look at their infection rate. Their figures fluctuate (mostly up exponentially) on a daily basis, have you seen their figures as constant as those presented by MOH?

    Mind you, we are talking about only a single cluster and look at their scale of spread, compared to Sinkieland. Sinikieland has multiple clusters and so many unlinked cases, everyday infection rate so constant hovering around 100? I can understand if like then China, the island is on a complete lockdown, but this is not the case for Sinkieland, with its half-baked sorry excuse of a circuit breaker.

    Take the recent cases in China for example, a handful of airplane cleaners infected, took only a week to spread to 7 provinces infecting 200 people and counting. Currently 3 cities are on lockdown and with over 70 cities under “heightened alert”.

    So tell me, what is so special about Sinkieland that makes it so very different from ALL the rest of the world? Don’t tell me the C19 virus took pity on daft Sinkies?

    Like you said, want to believe MOH’s figures also cannot, buy 4D also not so accurate.

    Want to bet today’s figures still hovering around 120, plus minus 10 up or down? Better still, let’s up the ante, add in tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and how about the entire this week? lol

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  • No wonder:

    Singapore is very selective on who to get compulsory test. China freely catch a big group and test everyone.

    On another note, Singapore data seems to show that the vaccines are not very good for preventing inflection. Contrary to the claimed 93%, it may be close to zero percent.

    Take the MOH data for 1st August.
    For those 70+ years old,
    21 percent totally unvaccinated, 34 cases,
    6% 1-shot vaccine, 19 cases,
    73% 2-shot vaccine, 127 cases,
    Total 180 cases.

    If vaccine is totally useless, the proportional numbers will be
    21% unvac, 38 cases
    6% 1-shot, 11 cases
    73% 2-shot, 131 cases.

    These numbers suggest that the vaccines are totally useless, even negative, for 70+ yr olds.

    TRE Techie: So tell me, what is so special about Sinkieland that makes it so very different from ALL the rest of the world? Don’t tell me the C19 virus took pity on daft Sinkies?

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  • #08-193 huang ba dan always:

    Spore can open border. If other countries remain closed, it’s pointless.

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  • @No wonder

    There you go, I say liao earlier this morning. Today approx 120 cases, the figures released is 121, buy 4D also no so zoon one.

    In fact, I am tempted to believe the figures all already prepared at the beginning of the month liao, just grab from a template on the needed days can liao. lol

    Anyone wanna bet tomorrow also 120 plus minus 10%? ha ha ha

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  • Smart Nation:

    They need to keep the daily infection numbers under control to bring back the tourists; otherwise SG will be on the travel restriction list of other countries and tourists will not come even if they open up air travel; and they cannot justify their decision to open up the country if the numbers are high without facing public outcry. They must also show that they are doing better than other countries in managing the pandemic; no, endemic. The daily report now is to highlight the severity of the infections on the unvaccinated so as to get as many people vaccinated.

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