Singapore — After the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reclassified its travel advisory for Singapore as “unknown” and advised US citizens to avoid travelling to the country, opposition politician Lim Tean seized on this issue to attack the Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF).
He slamed this development as “A Damning Indictment Of An Incompetent Taskforce”.
The CDC website says it uses the “Unknown” category for its Travel Health Notice levels when a destination does not provide data concerning the Covid-19 situation. In such cases, it advises travelers to follow the notice for Level 4 countries. For such countries, the site simply says, “Avoid travel to this destination.”
Mr Lim, a lawyer and the head of the People’s Voice party, did not mince words in his post. He said:
“It was absolutely fallacious for Lee Hsien Loong to claim that his team and the Taskforce have done well in controlling Covid. We are now regarded by the Americans as a country which does not provide data on the virus situation. We are basically an opaque country, where citizens are kept in the dark about the true virus situation.”
He said that the Ministry of Health had ceased providing daily Covid updates on Dec 7, and that “all Singaporeans are subjected to Everyday, is an incessant call to be vaccinated. This is so typical of the PAP in the way it hangs on to power – deny citizens information.”
In fact, what the MOH discontinued was a daily information update on the Covid-19 situation here that was sent directly to users via WhatsApp . The information continues to be available on one of the MOH’s many websites.The updates are also carried regularly in media reports.
However, the discontinuation of the WhatsApp service definitely makes the information less easy to access than when a neat message arrives reliably and conveninetly on your smartphone or other device without prompting.
It might well be the discontinuation of this WhatsApp service that has prompted the US CDC to reclassify Singapore’s Covid-19 status as “unknown”.
Mr Lim did not spare the mainstream media. He took aim at the SIngapore media in connection with his harangue against the Singapore government. “In this they are ably aided by their 160th-ranked propaganda mouthpiece, the MSM, which is ridiculous in claiming that it wants to be a ‘trusted source of news’,” he added.
Referring to the co-chairs of the Multi-Ministry task force assigned to manage the pandemic, Mr Lim asked, “Are Lawrence Wong, Ong Ye Kung and Gan Kim Yong Happy for Singapore to be in the same category for Covid as North Korea, Afghanistan and Syria?”
At a media conference on Wednesday (Jan 5) Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the US had advised its citizens against traveling to Singapore because it is unaware of Singapore’s Covid-19 surveillance test numbers.
The Straits Times quotes Mr Ong as saying, “Just to be clear, we know our situation very well,” and added that “we are sure that the incidence of Covid-19 in our community is currently low and stable.”
What the CDC website says
This is the entry for CDC’s latest advisory for Singapore:
- Avoid travel to Singapore.
- Because the current situation in Singapore is unknown, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.
- If you must travel to Singapore, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.
- Travelers should follow recommendations or requirements in Singapore, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.
At that time, the CDC considered Singapore to be at the same danger level as Malaysia, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Somalia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, among others.
Previous to this, the CDC had classified Singapore as a Level 3 country.
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