Singapore plans to shift to new normal amid Covid. Check details
- The ministers said that with enough vaccinated people, Covid-19 can be managed like other endemic diseases like common flu, hand, foot and mouth diseases in Singapore.
It's been more than a year sicne the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. Though the number of cases is still high, and new variants are emerging every few weeks, the countries are learning to live with the disease. Many of them have chalked out a plan for the new normal and Singapore is one of them. "The bad news is that Covid-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst," Singapore's three ministers of a multi-ministry task force on coronavirus said on Thursday as they outlined the plan for the new normal.
Focussing on vaccination against the virus, a roadmap is being drawn up to shift to this new normal and it will be done in tandem with achieving certain vaccination milestones, said the co-chairmen, minister for trade and industry Gan Kim Yong, minister for finance Lawrence Wong and minister for health Ong Ye Kung.
The ministers said that with enough vaccinated people, Covid-19 can be managed like other endemic diseases like common flu, hand, foot and mouth diseases in Singapore.
Here's how the task force plans to shift to the new normal:
The priority in the next few months will be to prepare the country for life with Covid as a recurring, controllable disease, the ministers were quoted as saying by The Straits Times, reported PTI.
To prepare for Covid becoming an endemic Singapore has ramped up its vaccination drive amid the fight to reduce the spike in cases. Vaccination has reported to appear effective in reducing the rate of infection and transmission. Fully vaccinated people showed mild or no symptoms in case of contraction.
The ministers said that by early next month, two-thirds of the population will have received at least one dose of the vaccine. "Our next milestone will be to have at least two-thirds of our population fully vaccinated with two doses around National Day, supply permitting. We are working to bring forward the delivery of vaccines and to speed up the process," they said.
Next, the ministers said in time, people infected with the virus will be allowed to recover at home to reduce the stress on the healthcare system. The close contacts of the infected people can purchase test kits from pharmacies to test themselves.
Testing will be made universal and will no longer remain a tool for ring-fencing and quarantining people. They said that it will be used to screen those who enter office buildings, malls, schools and other places.
The daily updates on the coronavirus numbers will shift to focus on outcomes like home many people fell severely shift and how many ended up needing the intensive care unit, the same way the flu is monitored. Eventually, safe management rules can be eased and large gatherings will be allowed like the National Day Parade or New Year's Eve countdown, The Straits Times report said.
Travel will begin again, with vaccination certification, with countries that have also controlled the contagion and turned it into an endemic. The travellers may even be exempted from quarantining with a negative test on arrival.
The fear of economic disruptions from the lockdowns will also not exist for the businesses, the report said.
"Science and human ingenuity will eventually prevail over Covid-19. Cohesion and social consciousness will get us there faster. We must all do our part," the ministers said.
Singapore, as of Wednesday, had reported a total of 62,470 Covid-19 cases. The country has recorded 35 deaths from the infection to date.
(With inputs from PTI)