Singapore—Speaking in Parliament on Thursday (March 5), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the country should expect “significantly higher numbers” of novel coronavirus cases in the coming days.
He told Parliament during the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Committee of Supply debate, “Globally, the number of cases outside mainland China continues to grow at an alarming rate across continents and regions. This is worrying as they pose a high risk of importation of cases into Singapore, therefore, we must expect to see significantly higher numbers of new cases in time to come.”
Moreover, the country should also be ready for Covid-19 to remain in Singapore “a long time,” the Health Minister added.
He said that Singaporeans and the Government will just have to keep on making adjustments with tackling the issues stemming from the coronavirus to ensure that life keeps on while precautionary measures are put in place.
And, while the number of infections continue to grow in other countries, it will be harder, Mr Gan said, to keep stopping the disease from entering Singapore’s borders, since “we cannot ban visitors from every country and shut ourselves out from the world.”
At the moment, the country has travel restrictions and advisories in place, as well as mandatory temperature screening, contact tracing and quarantine.
However, disease outbreaks are all dissimilar, he said, in answer to questions from Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) and Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) concerning how effective the measures have been so far, and how the country can be better prepared for the future.
Mr Gan said,”Even as we do our best to learn from each outbreak and prepare for the next, we must always expect the unexpected.”
Should the virus remain in the country for the long term, these measures will need adjustment while the world waits for treatments and vaccines for this particular coronavirus.
The Government, Mr Gan added, needs to “to mount a swift and effective response” as well as to maintain public trust, which is key in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.
He added, ”It is important to be transparent and share the information we know as soon as possible.”
The Health Minister provided an update to the situation, saying that of the 112 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, 79 patients have fully recovered and have gone home from the hospital. Thirty-three patients are still undergoing treatment, among whom seven are classified as being in critical condition.
straitstimes.com says that Mr Gan lauded the SG Clean campaign for implementing higher public hygiene standards, and that he expressed gratitude for Singaporeans who have rallied together in cooperating with and supporting the Government’s efforts. It would be impossible to win the fight against the outbreak otherwise, he added.
“We must continue the good practices that have proven effective in reducing the spread of infectious diseases – such as staying home when unwell and during the period covered by medical certificate, and practising good personal hygiene. We should also maintain high hygiene standards in our hawker centres and public toilets.
This will strengthen our collective resilience against Covid-19 as well as other infectious diseases, while going about our daily lives as much as possible.” —/TISG