When Singapore embarked on its COVID-19 survival strategy, backed by one of the top global vaccine programmes, the prosperous city-state observed a surge in infection rates, prompting many to question if the time was right.
However, with the numbers now dropping as quickly as they rose, there is a cautious optimism that the closely watched plan has helped Singapore turn the corner in the pandemic, even with the discovery of the new worrisome omicron variant and provide a better understanding of what is and isn’t effective.
‘I believe now COVID simply seems like a typical flu to everyone,’ said Glacier Chong, who was taking a break from shopping on Singapore’s renowned Orchard Road.
Part of Singapore’s confidence stems from the numbers it has reported.
With 94 percent of its eligible population completely vaccinated and 26 percent already on booster doses, even when the number of infected people began to rise, nearly 99 percent had no or only moderate symptoms, indicating that the health-care facilities were under pressure but not overwhelmed. The number of deaths increased but remained low, with the majority being older adults with underlying medical issues, a disproportionate number of whom were unvaccinated.