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26 Sep 2021  (682 Views) 
Covid-19 crisis

Living with covid - Australia and Singapore experience
Both Australia and Singapore shared the same strategy in dealing with the covid pandemic. 

Both countries worked towards a "covid-zero" policy. They implemented strict measures to isolate infected people and quarantine them until they are no longer infectious. They restricted the activities of other people to prevent the transmission of the virus from unknown carriers. 

Both countries were able to keep the infection down to low numbers for most of the past 18 months. 

However, the virus will not go away. With the delta variant, it becomes more transmissible. More people were infected within the community.

Both countries found that it was too tiring to carry out the restrictions for such a long period. 

They decided to move to a new strategy to "live with covid". They felt that a high rate of vaccination would help to prevent serious illness from the virus, although it was already known that it would not prevent the spread.

The new strategy to relax the restrictions resulted in a large wave of infections, hospitalization and higher deaths.  The numbers were higher than the officials had expected.

Both countries experienced a death rate of 2 per million based on the past 7 days. 

However, the infection rates were different - Singapore 1,477, Australia 454. There are new infections for the past 7 days per million of population

Singapore reported 3.2 times the infection rate compared to Australia and the same death rate. 

What is the reason for the difference?

It is likely due to the method adopted for safe entry and contact tracing. 

Singapore has been implementing the safe entry recording of people visiting food courts, malls and other crowded places. 

This has caused a large number of people who received alerts of potential exposure. They are then asked to self test for the virus or they are tested at designated facilities. 

It is likely that the number of people being tested in Singapore daily is several times higher than in Australia, pro rata. 

The large number of tests create panic and chaos. It produced three times the number of infections, most of which are mild anyway.

The handling of a larger number of cases overwhelmed the hospital system.

However, it did not bring down the death rate, which remained the same for both countries. 

The home recovery protocol was designed to handle the large number of cases, to relieve the hospitals. This protocol was also overwhelmed, as they were insufficient number of staff to manage the large number of cases.

By comparing the experience of both countries, it is clear to me that Singapore is carrying out a lot of useless activities, to deal with mild cases, which does not produce a better outcome compared to Australia. 

It would be better to focus on the more serious cases, and to give attention to them. 

This is my opinion. I may be wrong. But my common sense tells me otherwise.

Tan Kin Lian


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