June 19, 2021

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Editorial: Stop the spread of variant strains as soon as possible

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Variant strains originating from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and India have spread internationally.

From May 8 to the end of this month, my country’s epidemic prevention and control will return to the second stage of unblocking, the maximum number of gatherings will be reduced from 8 to 5, large-scale events and school activities will be tightened, and stricter border controls will be implemented. , The society has not caused panic because of this, showing that the experience of the past year has shown that the people of the country have been able to more rationally view the need for epidemic prevention measures to adjust with the ups and downs of the epidemic.

Since the end of March, the increase in imported cases has formed a worrisome trend, especially among Indian immigrants from India or entering through a third country. There have been daily cases. Therefore, it is hoped that the government’s call for the closure of the border of the Indian subcontinent will increase Bigger.

After banning the entry of travelers from several countries in the Indian subcontinent, from May 8th, the number of days that travelers from high-risk countries must comply with home notifications at designated facilities and the monitoring of travel history have been extended from 14 days to 21 days.

Responding to the spread of variant strains abroad is the key battle in the second phase of this return. In the past week, as of this Tuesday, there were 60 new infections in the community, including the Tan Tock Seng Hospital infection group (one newly added yesterday), 29 of which were infected with different variant strains, and five of them belonged to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital infection group.

The greater risk is that the authorities cannot rule out the possibility that the variant virus is latent in the community, and the more contagious variant virus may cause a large infection group.

The current situation is not a new wave of outbreaks, but the emergence and accumulation of new cases puts pressure on medical resources. In order to cope with the sudden change of the epidemic, the Ministry of Health has instructed hospitals across the country to postpone non-emergency operations, hospitalizations, and specialist outpatient clinics. This somewhat caused public anxiety. Because it is natural for people who are ill to seek medical treatment in a hurry. However, it is necessary to plan ahead in resource preparation.

Restricting the entry of South Asians will inevitably have an impact on any country’s economy, which is highly dependent on guest workers, and the construction industry will bear the brunt. Huang Xuncai, the Minister of Education of Singapore who co-leads the inter-departmental anti-epidemic team, said that the delay of the project must be longer, and the completion of the HDB housing project may be delayed for more than a year, which is a “significant cost” for Singaporeans.

The delay in the completion of HDB flats has also affected the wedding dates of young homeowners, and once again disrupted the schedule of many Chinese.

India is now the world’s worst-hit area, with a serious shortage of medical and anti-epidemic materials. For a country with a population of 1.3 billion, foreign aid can only play a “drop in the bucket” role. Therefore, there is little chance of opening India’s borders in the short term, and the impact on the local labor force is far from what is currently imaginable.

With the “learning from the past”, we should implement stricter isolation and testing for new guest workers from India in the future. After the 21-day quarantine, they must be observed for 7 to 14 days. Workers are placed in transitional accommodation for some time before they can be safely transferred to general guest worker dormitories.

We must not take it lightly to fight against the variant virus with a long incubation period. Although the authorities have tightened the epidemic prevention requirements for guest workers, the guest workers’ dormitory is still a fragile line of defense. Once there is a gap, it will be out of control.

Variant strains originating from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and India have spread internationally. No country can completely block foreign viruses from the country. Even China, where preventive measures are impervious, has also found foreign variant strains. For my country, which is cautiously opening its borders, measures to control risks are more important, and we must continue to develop more accurate, rapid and simple detection methods.

The full adoption of “Heli Tracking” registration is two weeks ahead of schedule and will be implemented on the 17th of this month. To track cases and spread, technology is more effective than manpower. Those who have not yet downloaded the mobile app or received a hand-in-hand anti-epidemic device should not be delayed, and there is no need to delay.

For some Chinese who are still hesitant to vaccinate, the mutant strain may further weaken their confidence in the effectiveness of the existing vaccine. Mai Xiwei, Director of Medical Services of the Ministry of Health, believes that if it were not for my country to give priority to vaccinating medical staff and the elderly, the spread of Tan Tock Seng Hospital this time is believed to be wider. Among them, the vaccinated people have no symptoms or only very mild symptoms, which also proves that the vaccine does have a protective effect.

As the infection situation in the community worsens, the authorities must strengthen public awareness of the dangers of the variant strains. People try to reduce entertainment and improve self-discipline and self-protection awareness to prevent community infection from evolving into a new wave of epidemics.

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