When I was last time updating my post about COVID-19 in Singapore (8.2.2020) – read the post HERE. I was hoping that I’m done, and in a few weeks, it will be over. I’m afraid that I was too optimistic. It is almost two months when we had the first confirmed case (23.1.2020) and I don’t see the end of it yet. Let’s see what happened from my last update.
All surgical masks were sold out just after the first case of COVID-19 appeared here. The government decided to calm down the situation, and they gave every household in Singapore 4 masks. (Source). These masks are for emergencies – when you feel unwell, and you need to visit the doctor. Primarily they should be used to protect others when we are already feeling sick. We obtained our masks 7.2.2020. Till now, I can’t see surgical masks in shops. But I was able to order some online.
Just after the government changed the DORSCON (Disease Outbreak Response System Condition) level to orange on the 7th of February 2020. As a result, people freaked out, and panic started. People took shops and supermarkets by storm. I didn’t know about it as we did the big grocery shopping a day before, on Thursday, 6th of February 2020, and I had supplies for two weeks. I noticed on Saturday morning that a lot of people are going on the streets with big grocery bags and big packs of toilet papers. I have never seen anything like that before. I saw pictures of empty shelves in the supermarkets. (Source) But those were quickly reshelved.
After this, the situation calmed down. Not by itself. The Singapore government started to speak to people immediately. They explain that we have enough of everything and it is not necessary to panic. It helped. Life continues. My son is going to school every day, my husband to work, and I’m taking care of the grocery shopping, but I can’t say that we are back to normal. We are far from it. We didn’t go anywhere for almost two months. No cinema, no famous tourist spots, no museums, no anything where are a lot of people (which is everywhere here). My son is playing on the condo playground downstairs, but no public playgrounds. To stay sane, I’m doing walking in the near tiny park. It is an outdoor space and a reasonable distance between people. This is helping me immensely.
Europe and the US outbreak
I monitor statistics twice a day – in the morning and the evening. I could rest assured that numbers in Singapore are going up very slowly, and the situation is under control. This soothes my mind till the moment I saw how numbers are going up very quickly in Italy and how the COVID-19 virus started to spread in entire Europe and the US. Before, I was happy that at least my family and friends back in Europe are OK. So I needed to worry only about us three here in Singapore. Now my anxiety skyrocketed again.
11.3.2020 WHO (World Health Organisation) characterizes COVID-19 as a pandemic.
“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock, and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have, therefore, made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general
Sunday (15.3.2020), Singapore reported the highest number of confirmed cases per day – 14 (Source). Nine of those cases were imported. Yesterday (16.3.2020), it was even worst. We had 17 new cases (Source). The eleven of those cases are imported. The day numbers are getting higher for a few days now. In light of these events, the government decided to issue stay-home notices for all travelers entering Singapore from ASEAN countries, Japan, UK, Switzerland. We were also asked to postpone all non-essential travels at the moment. (Source)
Is panic back?
As much as I hope that it isn’t, there are first signs that people might be panicking again. Sure is that numbers are going up, and something else added up to the worries. Yesterday (16.3.2020), Malaysia put its country on lockdown. (Source) This country is not only our closest neighbor, but it is also the country from we are importing a lot of products. After that, it was problematic to get a time slot in online shops for grocery shopping, and there were again long queues in supermarkets. I hope that once again the prime minister Lee Hsien Loong will have a speech to calm down the situation once again. I love his statements. He can communicate the current situation on COVID-19 ins Singapore and the government plan to solve the issues so clearly.
I can see that the COVID-19 in Singapore or anywhere else isn’t done yet. But we cannot stop our lives. And we shouldn’t stop enjoying our lives as much as the current situation allows. So wash your hands, friends, and stay safe.