Posted on 17/12/2020 by Paula Formantes
The world will take several years to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and even then, some things will change in the new normal.
In the short term, it is not possible to get away from the precautions and the risks which are present right now, overnight.
Even if there is a vaccine by the beginning of next year, it will probably be 2022 by the time it gets rolled out to a significant proportion of the population and has an impact in slowing down the spread of the disease.
In terms of international travel, it might only return to normal in 2 years’ time, but it is also possible to extend but that is down the road.
Despite Covid-19 gone, there will be a lasting impact as people would have gotten used to working remotely, doing business online, and travelling less.
While Singapore's Covid-19 numbers are very low, with almost no community transmission in the past few days, the battle is not over as all it takes is one super spreader and everyone will be chasing down tails again.
We should keep up our precautions, build up what we are able to do in terms of testing, contact tracing, our system’s response rate, in case the cases grow again, and then be able to open up cautiously with precautions.
The attitude Singapore took is not to let the disease burn through the population.
The Government is working very hard to prevent a second outbreak or even a second circuit breaker, which will have a big impact on the psychology of the population.
People will be discouraged, maybe even demoralized, angsty, or fractious. It is not easy to maintain solidarity in the face of a threat, going away, and coming back again.
Support for jobs and businesses
The Government has unleashed unprecedented fiscal firepower this year to the tune of around $100 billion in Covid-19 support measures, and is looking to draw up to $52 billion from past reserves, and is pointing to those hit hardest as many are self-employed such as tour guides and freelance coaches.
But now that the situation is stabilizing, the large infusion of government resources cannot go on indefinitely, and we must gradually tail this off and get things onto a sustainable footing.
Acknowledging that entertainment and tourism businesses are not out of the woods yet, unlike the manufacturing and technology sectors, which are doing well, he said the authorities are experimenting with how entertainment outlets can be opened safely.
Despite the rules, when you want to relax with friends or dance in an entertainment lounge, karaoke, it is a completely different mindset altogether.
Under a pilot programme, selected nightlife venues can reopen by next month or January under strict safety management measures, such as wearing masks on the dance floor and showing proof of negative Covid-19 tests before being allowed in.
Whether these businesses choose to pivot, transform, or right-size, it is important that they take good care of their workers, who are also stakeholders and an important resource.
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