New Patterns

The weekend before eating out was allowed, the roads were very busy with cars, and cyclists. I wonder what that was about. Everyone seemed so busy. But the neighbourhood was quiet as I took my walk.

I think so much has changed since Covid began, 17 months ago. The government is saying city design would have to adjust, hinting some changes are coming. Details on what these changes would be are vague right now. Meanwhile, government housing flats have been delayed up to 9 months. Some family members have to adjust their expectations on when their new flats would be ready.

My office is under-utilised, there are only a handful of people on the whole floor when I do go in. Working from home, I’m very dependent on home broadband, and getting used to how it cuts out for a few seconds several times a day… I just wait for it to reconnect, and hope I haven’t missed too much of the online meeting. Usually it’s ok.

So this week, we can dine out in groups of two. I may arrange some coffee meetings, keeping my fingers crossed, and taking small calculated risks.

Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)

An empty McDonalds

It’s been a month since my last post (5 May) where I worried things were getting worse, and they have in a way. Cases continued to grow, the airport cluster became quite significant, and there was a large shopping centre cluster. Many children were found to be infected, and they have spread it to their parents, grandparents and each other.

We were put in Phase 2 (HA) since 16 May and this stage is due to end on Sunday June 13. The restrictions were severe and it must have worked because the last three days have seen community cases come down to single digits.

Well we are just 5 days away from the scheduled end of this phase and no announcement has yet been made as to what’s next. This is no good for planning.

Can we go back to office? Now all must work from home unless absolutely necessary. Companies have been fined for not complying.

Can we have home tuition or music for children? Its school holidays now but all enrichment classes such as music lessons must be online.

Can we have have more than 2 different visitors a day at home? This is giving me issues. I’ve had to text people to say they cannot come visit on certain days when I already have others scheduled.

Will the Hong Kong flight bubble be reinstated again? This has been planned and postponed twice already, first due to rising cases in Hong Kong and this time due to rising cases in Singapore.

The problem is nobody knows if we are going to have more or fewer cases in the coming days. Also, I suspect the task force cannot yet agree and must still be debating what to do next. The recent Cabinet musical chair switcharound with noobs helming key ministries doesn’t help either.

2021 could be worse

At the end of 2020, when the first vaccines were given in Singapore, hopes were high, and I started a draft blog with the above title. It was meant as a caution; don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, that sort of thing.

The year started well enough and as I mentioned in other posts, things were looking up and traffic jams were back.

Well last week everything started to change. A nurse in one of our major hospitals was diagnosed with Covid. She had aleady been vaccinated in Jan and Feb but she developed a fever and a sore throat.

To date we have found several positive patients in her ward and one 88 year-old lady has passed away. Testing the entire hospital staff and patients have detected 40 others. Most worryingly, one is a porter and one is a physiotherapist. These are staff who go just about everywhere in the hospital.

There were other clusters in the community too, all detected in the same week! Most worrying in term’s of potential for spread are an airport immigration officer, a 15 year-old schoolgirl, a hairdresser and a spa worker. So far these clusters have less than 10 people each.

Last night, after several days of watching the numbers rise, the government announced a rollback of measures and increased social distancing rules. So we’re back to work from home if possible and smaller and fewer gatherings.

We’ve also been warned that if necessary a lockdown could be imposed. With over 20% of the population vaccinated, we should not have as many deaths and large clusters. Unfortunately the vaccine could have caused complacency, and there are still large numbers of vulnerable who have not been vaccinated.

So yes 2021 could be worse, but I hope not.