Sinagpore—S. Iswaran, the country’s Communications and Information Minister, debunked the rumours that the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) alert will be raised to its highest level, Red.
Speaking to members of the media in Parliament on Thursday (Mar 26), Mr Iswaran addressed the rumours making the rounds on various channels.
“We are aware there has been false information purveyed on various platforms that we are going to declare Dorscon red, that the Government is going to go into a lockdown mode, that we are going to scale back the MRT and bus services.
All of this is completely untrue. We have issued clarification through the Gov.sg WhatsApp service. Such false information is completely irresponsible and it just serves to raise the level of anxiety and cause fear and panic in our population.”
The WhatsApp message sent via the Gov.sg channel addressed the rumours saying the country “go to DORSCON Red,” and enter (sic) into a lockdown. It was also circulated that public transport would come to a halt or be decreased.
The message from Gov.sg said, “These are all untrue. Please do not spread unverified information,” and directed people to check official sources for news items and updates.
The Communications and Information Minister also referred the public to the websites of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Gov.sg for correct and updated information and asked the public not to share fake news such as the one concerning the DORSCON alert level being raised to Red.
Mr Iswaran said, “We hope that everyone will exercise prudence in sharing information, and verify the source and the truthfulness of it before they share it with their loved ones and friends.”
Singapore has established four levels of alert when it comes to infectious diseases as part of its pandemic preparedness plan.
According to the MOH, Green, the first level, and Yellow, the next, mean a minimal disruption to people’s lives. The Orange level, which was raised over the country in early February, puts into effect control measures such as quarantines and temperature screenings and has a moderate disruption on everyday life. Red, the highest alert level, signifies a major disruption of life, with school and work disruptions.
The Green alert signifies that the disease is mild, or possibly severe but does not easily spread. The Yellow alert means that the disease is severe and is spreading, but this is occurring in other countries. It could also mean that it is spreading within the country but is typically mild (or only severe in certain vulnerable groups) or is being contained. The Orange alert means that while the disease is not only severe and spreading quickly among people, it is not yet spreading widely in the country and is being contained, such as what happened in Singapore with SARS in 2003.
The Red alert means the disease is severe and is spreading widely. The implications to the public during a red alert are as follows: Those who are sick must stay home, everyone must maintain good personal hygiene and be on the alert for advisories from the Health Ministry, as well as comply with control measures, avoid crowds and practice social distancing. —/TISG