The population of Denmark is similar to that of Singapore. But, their 5.5 million people are spread across some 43km of land area and islands spanning over 2,000,000 sq km in total area. Whereas, for Singapore, our population is spread across a total area of over 600 sq km. As Singaporeans are more tightly-packed together, the odds of us contracting the Covid-19 virus are higher.
It is possible to control the spread of the virus in Singapore, so why not adopt proper measures to curb the spread? Especially, in our primary schools where there is close contact between students when they dine at the canteen, engage in group activities or take public transport. Take public transport for example – there is a high chance of the virus spreading amongst students in this close-proximity environment, when they go to school and make their way home. It is possible for them to avoid taking public transport or gather in public places where they can be exposed to people who are infected but show no symptoms. At the same time, parents and guardians who accompany children to school and on the return journey home will have to make four trips. There is a higher chance for them to be exposed to asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
The government’s decision to adopt the stance of Western nations in its approach towards managing the pandemic has resulted in the situation in Singapore worsening over the past two months. The number of people who have been infected, or have died from the virus, has risen at a high rate. This is unacceptable and simply put, gambling with the lives of Singaporeans.
Government leaders from the Multi-Ministerial Task Force have to accept responsibility for our heightened suffering. They underestimated the Covid-19 virus, and their hasty and careless push for “endemic living” has resulted in the great surge in infections. In war, generals who underestimate the strength of the enemy have on many occasions led their troops to their graves.
At this time, it is unrealistic to talk about endemic living. The Covid-19 virus continues to mutate and pose fresh threats. Symptoms today might be mild for many, but as the virus morphs there is the possibility of these symptoms becoming more severe. By that time, if our hospitals are overwhelmed, it will be too late to make a U-turn on the push for endemic living!
Government leaders have chosen to hastily open up the economy, whereas the SDA is calling for a more measured approach. Singaporeans will not accept excuses about how difficult it is to manage the pandemic if, in the first place, adequate plans and preparations have not been made.
The Multi-Ministerial Task Force is currently helmed by elite scholars who have turned out to be paper tigers. Over the past two years, we have seen them constantly flip-flop over key decisions and churn out bureaucratic plans that fail when implemented. There is a saying, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. Without knowing how deep a river is, one should tread slowly and feel the depth of the riverbed first before attempting to cross. However, these elites simply dove in headfirst and as a result, cases are rising and Singaporeans have to experience yet more suffering.
I believe that the task force must be reorganised. It should be led by doctors who are experts in the field of infectious diseases. I urge the government to put these professionals in charge and steer Singaporeans safely through this pandemic. It’s time to stop allowing the elites who have no experience in this field to gamble with our lives.
Singapore Democratic Alliance