The 2003 outbreak of extreme acute respiratory syndrome offered a “playbook” for Singapore to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the city-state’s chief stated.

The south-east Asian nation has been comparatively unaffected by the pandemic, with simply 31 deaths and 60,000 instances amongst its inhabitants of 5.8m.

The Ministry of Well being introduced 48 new instances on the weekend — 28 on Sunday and 20 on Saturday, 17 of which had been by way of group transmission. There are 31 imported instances. 

The illness unfold quickly by way of the nation’s dormitories of migrant employees final 12 months, bringing trade and companies to a standstill. 

Nonetheless, the financial system contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020 and gross home product is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic ranges till the second half of this 12 months on the earliest, in response to authorities forecasts.

“Sars was much less infectious than Covid-19, however deadlier,” Lee Hsien Loong, prime minister, stated.

Singapore was one of many first nations to be hit by Sars. “At first, nobody knew what the brand new illness was, or how lengthy the outbreak would final.”

Lee stated the federal government “had no playbook for coping with such a disaster”. 

Pedestrians wear masks in Singapore’s Raffles Place financial district
Pedestrians put on masks in Singapore’s Raffles Place monetary district © AFP by way of Getty Photos

He praised then prime minister Goh Chok Tong, who, he stated, “mounted a most nationwide response to stem the unfold”.

Goh organised temperature taking, contact-tracing, quarantining of contacts, and screening protocols at borders and in public areas, in addition to mobilising hospitals and shutting faculties.

“All had been a part of the technique to ‘detect, isolate and include’,” Lee stated. 

Goh rallied the nation behind him, he added.

“He wrote a private letter addressed to each Singaporean, he defined the scenario to Singaporeans, calmly and clearly, what we wanted to do, individually and collectively. Folks understood what was at stake, took coronary heart, and performed their half to win the battle.”

Lee spoke on the launch of a biography of Goh, Standing Tall, by Peh Shing Huei, a Straits Occasions editor.

When Covid-19 hit Singapore 17 years later, “we had been higher ready”, he stated. 

“We tailored the measures that labored for us in Sars however Covid-19 is a brand new and totally different illness and has demanded recent pondering and responses from us.”


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