As vaccination, testing, and safety protocols, how we manage COVID may be different in the near future. Singapore is working on a roadmap to its “new normal” where COVID is treated just like any other flu.
The bad news is COVID will never go away and cases and it will be hard to bring infections down to zero. It will continue to mutate and new strains of the virus will emerge like the UK and Delta variants. What does this mean? It is similar to the common flu. Thus, we have to learn how to live with it. That is why Singapore is taking a different approach where there is no need for quarantine and lockdown.
Vaccination is key. The vaccines are proven to reduce the risk of infection and transmission; and infected people will no longer suffer severe COVID-19 symptoms, which will lessen the burden on the healthcare system. Singapore aims to fully vaccinate two-thirds of its population by National Day, 9 August.
Here’s what Singapore’s new normal will look like:
- Patients can recover at home since symptoms are mostly mild and transmission is low.
- No need for massive contract tracing. Infected individuals may be tested regularly via fast and easy tests, they can confirm with a PCR test and then isolate themselves.
- No need to list cases every day and only critical cases and deaths will be monitored. Monitoring will be similar with influenza.
- No more lockdown and mass gatherings will be allowed. Businesses will not be disrupted.
- Travel resumes, at least to countries that have also controlled the virus. Travellers, especially those vaccinated, will be exempted from quarantine if they tested negative.
Singapore is working on a roadmap for its transition based on its vaccination rate. In the meantime, social responsibility and precautions are necessary to keep infections at bay.