Singapore is believed to have tackled the global Covid-19 pandemic in quite an efficient manner – with just two deaths and a fairly low infection rate. The nation was prepared well before the onset of the virus because of their previous encounter with SARS in 2002-03. As of today (21st March, 2020), Singapore has 432 confirmed cases, with 140 patients having already recovered. There are large consequences of the virus on the healthcare system, financial markets and on social behaviour but Singapore has an efficient taskforce set in place to map out those that have been infected. While the government and health officials are doing their part to contain the outbreak, here are some DO’s & DONT’s for you to practice on a day-to-day basis in order to stay safe and healthy.
Keep a Safe Distance from others:
Social distancing means reducing contact between you and other people. It is recommended to stay at home unless it is exceptionally urgent, to curb the pandemic situation. If you are in contact with someone unwell or possibly infected, the US Centre for Disease and Protection recommends keeping a 1.8 meter (6 foot) distance. Furthermore, restaurant and bar owners should limit the number of people in their establishments to minimize human interaction.
Maintain Personal Hygiene:
If you are feeling unwell or need to travel in public spaces, remember to wear a mask and carry some alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Most importantly, wash your hands at every possible opportunity for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing every last finger. As the virus is highly contagious, to cough or sneeze, use your elbow or a tissue to avoid the droplets from falling in your hand and other surface area and make sure to discard the soiled tissue immediately and thoroughly wash your hands.
Regularly Disinfect your Home and Workplace:
The coronavirus can be transmitted across surfaces including metal, glass, or plastic. Under experimental conditions, it was found that the virus could last on the respective surface from anywhere between three hours to three days (National Institute of Health). It is best to be mindful about cleaning high-touch surfaces, including doorknobs, tables, remotes, and toilets with household disinfectants – which are deemed effective against the virus.
Prepare Isolation for Quarantined Family Members:
According to the government of Singapore, travelers who enter the country have to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine period. If a family member is required to be quarantined, it is essential to prepare for them adequately. To ensure minimal contact, section off a specific area of your home to serve as a visual reminder for everyone to be careful in that vicinity. Make sure to prepare an isolated space with necessities like food, water, and a separate toilet, if possible. Alternatively, make sure the individual disinfect surfaces with alcohol-based wipes. If essentials need to be given to the person, place it outside the room and avoid making direct physical contact.
Consult a General Physician:
If you are experiencing the symptoms related to the coronavirus, which include dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath, try to arrange a visit to the general physician. It is essential to disclose any travel history or contact with patients who have been confirmed to be infected. If you are showing symptoms, you may be prescribed a stay-at-home notice by the doctor, which will allow officials to keep track of your health and activity. But, if you are suspected of having contracted the virus, there are strict rules to follow when in quarantine. If the rules are broken, there are severe consequences and penalties in place.
Monitoring your vital signs can help you get ahead of the virus. Continually checking your and your family members temperature can give you not only an indication of yours and your family members health but also mental satisfaction that you all are doing just fine. In case you do have a fever, you need to make rapid decisions and take action quickly.
Work From Home:
With the increasing use of the internet, the new #WFH trend is easy to follow. Schedule conference calls, meetings, and group discussions online and minimize the need for face-to-face interactions. I’m sure everyone has heard about Zoom, and it’s videoconferencing feature, the company’s daily average downloads have skyrocketed to 183% across March month! Although it can be challenging to concentrate at home, try to follow an organized schedule to maintain productivity, giving yourself a break when necessary. If you are required to travel abroad, it is essential to get a health certificate stating that you are in good health and have shown no symptoms of the coronavirus. With the pandemic spreading rapidly, many countries have imposed stricter travel rules, and this certificate will be handy when arriving at your destination. Not to mention, knowing that you are asymptomatic is also considerate to fellow travelers and the airport staff.
Staying all day indoors can get overwhelming and boring, mostly when your movement is restricted. A great way to stay fit and in shape is to exercise at home. Exercises such as yoga, Zumba and aerobics, and body exercises can quickly be done from the comfort of your home. You can get creative by using your furniture and household items to help you through your routine. Also, if you do not like to exercise alone, get your family to join you, or even video call a friend! Wellness apps include Aaptiv, Daily Burn, or TA Online Studio – some of which are offering free trials. Alternatively, Down Dog is making all of it’s apps free until the start of April, including Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7-minute workouts.
Social Media to Remain Connected:
Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family during the time of social distancing. Additionally, with many platforms available in today’s day and age, you can keep yourself entertained or even take up a new activity. Learn a new course or take up a Do-It-Yourself project – YouTube is a great place to find such projects, check out 5-Minute Crafts, or BuzzFeed Nifty for easy and creative tutorials.
Life can get very mundane, having to sit at home all day, and chores can feel like a burden. By gamifying these monotonous tasks, you can get creative and make chores entertaining! Through this process, you can also get the family involved to make it a group task or even compete with one another. It is a simple way to raise spirits and get housework done with a twist! For instance, race to see who can get their room cleaned the fastest or compete to cook lunch and dinner – see who’s the better home chef.
Follow Government Guidelines:
To stop the epidemic, entire populations need to comply with certain guidelines reminds Yuval Noah Harari. According to this Israeli Historian –
In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.
The Singaporean government is the most reliable source of information in this global crisis. There are government regulations in place to prevent the spread of the virus, and hence it is recommended to follow their guidelines strictly. Since the onset of the coronavirus, Singapore has taken measures to track down potentially infected patients and imposed a set of rules that have to be strictly followed for public health and safety. To help the government with contact tracing and gathering of comprehensive information, download the TraceTogether app.
Avoid Touching your Face with Unwashed Hands:
Touching one’s face is an instinctive habit that can be difficult to control. However, throughout the day, we unknowingly touch so many different surfaces, and touching our faces allows dirt, bacteria, and organisms like the virus to transfer onto it. In conclusion, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands as it could minimize the spread of the virus to your nose, ears, and eyes.
Do not leave used Tissues on Open Surfaces:
It has been found that it can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of the coronavirus to show any physical effects. Leaving tissues or napkins that have been sneezed or coughed into can potentially transfer the virus to others who clean up after you have left tissues on the table or on open surfaces.
Do not invade Others’ Personal Space:
It is a cultural norm to greet someone with a hug or handshake. However, when meeting someone amid the outbreak, avoid handshakes, hugs, and any other form of physical contact. It is crucial to maintain a safe, respectful distance (it’s called #socialdistancing). Instead, adopt the customary Hindu greeting Namaste by pressing your hands together with your palms touching and fingers pointing upwards.
Do not Hoard Necessities and Hygiene Products:
When going to the supermarket, avoid the impulse to buy an excessive amount of products. During this time of crisis, it is essential to be considerate of others, mainly those who need these groceries, such as the elderly – who may live alone. Furthermore, grocers will not run out of stock, so it is unnecessary to stockpile on canned goods and toilet paper. Make sure to buy the exact amount of products you need…again, just the real necessities – and be mindful of other shoppers. The Trade and Industry Minister, Chan Chun Sing, has also reminded Singaporeans that supply lines are not in shortage, with a national stockpile for essential items ready to go. Moreover, Malaysia will continue to supply Singapore with necessary produce despite their nation-wide lockdown.
Do not Visit the Doctor in a Panic:
With all the fear surrounding the coronavirus, do not book a doctor’s appointment unless it is absolutely necessary. Hospitals and health resources are currently stretched thin due to the rapid spread of the pandemic. As stated above, only go to the doctor if your symptoms persist and call in advance, so the clinic or hospital is prepared to take you in. Coronavirus symptoms include a fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include tiredness, aches, runny nose, and a sore throat.
Do not believe or spread False News:
The spread of rumors and fake news can cause unnecessary panic among the community. News regarding the virus is dynamic, with frequent live updates, but it is important always to double-check the information you hear or read about with reliable sources. The Singaporean government has set up a regularly scheduled program, where the prime minister announces updates regarding the coronavirus.
A self-motivated and well-informed population is usually far more powerful and effective than a policed, ignorant population,” – Yuval Noah Harari.
Avoid obsessively Reading the News:
In line with the previous point, it is also highly recommended not to read the news every second of every day. Yes, it is necessary to keep updated on what is happening in your country and around the world. However, reading about it too much can result in unwanted anxiety and stress!
Avoid International Travel:
It was discovered that 75% of the new coronavirus cases announced on 19th March are from foreign inbound travelers. With many countries imposing travel bans on incoming and outgoing travelers, do not travel without a proper reason. Additionally, make sure to check immigration and self-quarantine rules that have been imposed before booking any tickets – to make sure you don’t find yourself facing any travel restrictions.
Singapore has not adopted a full-lockdown strategy as of today because they believe it is essential to allow life to go about as ”normal”, making modifications to the system where necessary. Schools do not need to be closed because children are always either asymptomatic or appear to have mild symptoms and, therefore, can be monitored closely. Moreover, all public hospitals are well-equipped to test for Covid-19 if you are unsure about your symptoms. Stay Safe!!! Stay Healthy!!