Singapore confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 infection on 23rd January, several weeks after the first cases in Hubei province, China, were detected. After an initial period of containing the infection, Singapore saw a spike in the recorded total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. To bring the pandemic under control, the Singapore government imposed strict lockdown and social distancing rules. This appeared to have worked, as the number of new cases of COVID-19 daily have been brought back down to manageable numbers.
Flattening the curve through strict enforcement of social distancing laws
The Singapore government imposed a cordon sanitaire starting from April 7, 2020, as the recorded number of COVID-19 infections started to increase. The stay-at-home order, dubbed the circuit breaker measures in Singapore, included restricting the movement of people to only essential tasks such as grocery shopping, exercising, and implementing a work-from-home order for all non-essential workers who could do so. Schools, entertainment venues, and dining establishments were closed, and access to certain areas such as markets were restricted to even or odd days. The wearing of masks was made mandatory as soon as one leaves their place of residence, leading to high-levels of Singaporeans wearing masks during the pandemic.
To ensure that these social distancing measures were adhered to, Singapore had introduced harsh penalties for those caught flouting the rules. This included heft fines, revoking the work permits of foreigners caught breaking the law, as well as imprisonment for repeat offenders. Such strict social distancing measures were deemed necessary, as Singapore is a densely populated area in which infectious diseases could spread easily.
Keeping the pandemic under control through testing and contact tracing
The country has since started to gradually open up, with the third phase of easing of restrictions being planned for end 2020. In addition to social distancing measures, the government has introduced the use of tokens to trace the wearer’s movement. The use of these tokens, meant to complement the TraceTogether app, would be made mandatory for entry into public venues by the end of the year. Despite concerns surrounding privacy, the majority of Singaporeans were willing to use a tracking token to enable contact tracing.
Contact tracing has been hailed as one of the factors in Singapore’s success in bringing the pandemic under control. Apart from that, the country has also administered a large number of COVID-19 swab tests. Several companies have started developing rapid test kits, as well as robots to administer the swab tests, in order to minimize infection.
Opening up in the midst of a global rise in COVID-19 infections
Singapore is starting to open up just as the number of cases globally, especially in Europe and North America, are on the rise again. The challenge now is to ensure that the country does not revert back to the numbers seen in between April and June, while doing all that is necessary to improve the economy. Singapore's quarterly GDP growth rate had increased in the third quarter, a promising sign that the economic recovery might be better than previously expected.
Singapore is currently one out of more than 200 countries and territories battling the novel coronavirus. For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Facts and Figures page.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 22 most important statistics relating to "COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore".