Opening Up

Sakura theme display at Gardens by the Bay, nice and not crowded.

With the low number of Covid cases in the community, Singapore is gradually opening up. I have mixed feelings about this.

It’s getting more crowded on the roads as more are going to work, so no more smooth speedy journeys through deserted roads. One must aside more time for traveling or be late.

Mask discipline is falling and fewer people are properly masked. It always irks me when their masks are off and they are carrying on loud conversations… near me.

Is it possible to get so used to social distancing that “going back to normal” brings anxiety?

April 5 is the day – WFH or work from home will no longer be the default, and more people can go back to work in offices. Larger gatherings will be allowed at work, weddings, concerts, funerals.

I look forward to more live music performances, because these can be enjoyed with masks on and nobody talking! Currently, tickets are few and quickly sold out as the number of attendees is severely restricted.

Until then, perhaps I should try to fit in more visits to tourist attractions that are normally too crowded but now a pleasure to visit with crowd controls.

Covid times eating out

Back in June, we progressed to Phase 2 and allowed eating out, socially distanced and in groups of 5 or less.

Everybody loved it. It was crowded in this food court, and there was a mix of shoppers with masks and diners without. Fortunately the number of cases in the community were low, and with all the precautions taken, cases have remained low.

Touch wood.

I haven’t eaten out very much though. Am still cautious, and prefer quieter locations.

Next month, Singapore resumes cruises-to-nowhere and the public response has been positive. Year-end holiday options are improving. I’m really looking forward to things approaching ‘normality’.

Distancing from Covid-19

Many of the changes in the last few months have become so ingrained and are now routine and second nature. We wouldn’t dream of leaving home without a mask these days. And wherever we go we tap a “check-in” with our phones, observe the floor markings and stand apart. When there are visitors such as servicemen, every one at home puts on a face mask, and we put one on Mom or usher her into another room.

We carry on doing it because we believe we are doing our part, and that it is effective. After all we have been having fewer than 3 community cases per day for weeks. And no one is showing up severely ill and needing ICU care.

There are still dozens of cases amongst foreign workers from the construction, cleaning and shipping industries. But they too are very mild and mostly asymptomatic. About 25 to 50 percent of the foreign worker cases are positive for serology meaning they had become infected and then recovered without being detected.

There’s a thought going round that perhaps face masks are acting as a natural vaccination process. The infective agent is effectively reduced in numbers by face masks and this results in a mild illness that provide immunity.

If this is so, we will see cases gradually coming down early next year. Countries that are having high numbers of cases will be “burnt out” having achieved obvious herd immunity. Countries with high mask culture will continue to have few cases due to ongoing asymptomatic cases and the gradual building up of immunity.