As the U.S and some European and Asian countries are going through another round of COVID-19 case surges, the Far Eastern small city-state that is Singapore has done what was seemingly impossible before the pandemic year 2020 ended: the near eradication of the dreaded coronavirus within its borders.
According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, there are already a total of nearly 21 million cases in the US since the pandemic started with over 227,000 new cases at the time of this writing. It is such a deadly disease that millions around the world have already perished from it.
If the proliferation of the deadly virus is to be considered a crime against humanity and someone had to be held accountable for it, a reliable process server would have a hard time identifying who to serve the legal documents and subpoenas to. As it is, no one wanted this to happen, especially not on a global scale. All we can do at this point is to work together to mitigate its effects.
Some countries have yielded very successful results in the fight against COVID-19, including Singapore. The question a lot of folks are asking right now is how in the world did the Singaporean government and people pull this off?
The Goal: Elimination of the Virus
When the outbreak first occurred in Wuhan in China, most of the world took notice but did not take any immediate action. The initial assumption was that the Chinese can take care of the virus and it won’t get to the point of becoming an epidemic, much less a pandemic.
Until it did.
A lot of government leaders brushed off the threat and clearly underestimated the potency of the virus against the human immune system.
And when it did turn into a pandemic, a lot of countries still did not take any immediate actions about it. Most were looking at the World Health Organization for cues and guidance. In the end, almost all of the world’s governments took a reactive stance instead of a proactive one. When the virus started to wreak havoc across the world, governments immediately did what they can to keep the virus from spreading any further, hoping to control it and mitigate its effects. Only, they were already too late.
Not the citizens and residents of Singapore, though. They did not want to just keep it under control. They wanted to eliminate it at all costs.
Decisive Leadership and Cooperative Communities
The Singaporean leadership had to make some of the hardest calls in the country’s recent history. With neighboring countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan doing pretty well in their handling of the virus, they felt the need to not just keep up but somehow up the ante in the battle against COVID-19.
These countries, hailed as the top nations to have the best COVID responses, near-closed their economies. Not a single airport hotel nor mall was open during the entire lockdown season.
The Far East Asian and Oceanian standouts closed their borders to foreigners and highly discouraged inter-and intrastate travel for a certain period. Health officials formed teams that aggressively tracked down positive cases to prevent further outbreaks. Folks were forced to go into isolation resulting in a weakened economy.
For the first time in recent history, a recession was threatening even the most progressive and prosperous countries. But the citizens of Singapore were quite aware of the tradeoffs. If they protested and resisted, it can lead to extended suffering which can make things even worse for their economy as bad as things have gotten.
By trusting their leaders, Singaporeans have been rewarded a few months after the lockdowns were implemented.
To date, Singapore has the lowest case fatality rate in the world at only 0.05% from its 58,461 confirmed cases. This means that they only had 29 deaths during the pandemic’s entirety. At the time of this writing, there were 58,304 recoveries with 128 active cases according to Our World In Data.
These low numbers were all made possible by the Singaporean leadership’s swift decision-making which introduced and implemented what is known to be one of the world’s best and largest organized pandemic control programs. From mass testings to isolation of infected people to contact-tracing, Singapore has effectively and efficiently kept the virus under control. And its citizens couldn’t be any happier.
Although certain COVID-19 protocols still remain, their lives have been as close to normal as it could be considering the present global circumstances.
Singapore’s success over the pandemic should inspire us and teach us a few lessons on how to do things right. Both leaders and citizens should work together to overcome the challenges brought by the virus. We should all take a page out of their playbook and start working together so we can get our lives back.