As we look for solutions and how to better prepare for the potential, of future pandemics, Asia’s preparedness provides a good model for:
- Implementing new health infrastructure, travel controls, and protocols for identifying sick individuals.
- Plenty of tests for everyone.
- Using their experiences with prior outbreaks to build a system—and then sustaining it
- How Singapore is dealing with COVID-19 and doing it well.
Learning from SARS and H1N1
Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea seemed to have been ready when COVID-19 came along. How do you ask? After SARS and H1N1 influenza, they started to implement new health infrastructures, travel controls, and protocols for identifying sick individuals. After posting details for how many people had been tested for COVID-19, their governments instituted strict social distancing measures and told people to stay home. Due to the strict protocol and detailed data, they have lower numbers of infected and fatalities than China or Italy.
People in Singapore are able to get frequently updated information from multiple government websites. There are many measures they are taking to help with the safety of their people: signs up everywhere on what they have to do, fines for those who don’t follow rules, temperatures are being taken before entering businesses, schools, gyms, and government agencies because it is one of the main symptoms of COVID-19.
Taking preventative measures such as keeping different hospital departments separate from one another in case one has to be quarantined, small, yet systematic changes that can limit the spread of an infectious disease. Singapore is ready at a moment’s notice to adjust according to the disease if it turns out not to be controllable. Ultimately, learning from past experiences with prior outbreaks has forced them to think and prepare for future outbreaks and is what keeps Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea ahead of us all.
All opinions & expressions are solely those of the author and not those of any other individual, institution or business.