There are many blogposts I have to catch up on – the U2 concert last year, New Year’s Eve celebrations – but the information overload and masses of WhatsApp rumours, and frankly, bullshit circulating in the coronavirus makes it topical for a blogpost.
Firstly the facts. There are 13 confirmed cases in Singapore. All are Chinese nationals who have travelled from Wuhan. There has been no spread of the virus across anyone in the Singapore community.
Changi airport is monitoring and doing health checks on everyone arriving into the country. Hospitals are screening everyone before they enter the building.
There are updates coming from all sides. Businesses are emailing customers to reassure or scare them in the case of Lazada who encouraged everyone to stay safe at home and order online for delivery.
The Singapore Government has set up a WhatsApp messaging service in an attempt to get the facts out and counter false rumours.
It is worth noting that the official advice is to wash hands regularly (as the virus is destroyed in water) and wearing of masks is unnecessary unless you are ill.
Here are some, and I mean some, of the messages received today.
*[Sent by Gov.sg – 30 Jan] [8:56am]
*Stay informed about the Wuhan Coronavirus*
_Update on suspect cases_
As of 29 January, 12pm, 124 of the suspect cases have tested negative. Test results for the remaining 70 cases are pending.
If you have recently travelled overseas and have a fever or respiratory symptoms, seek medical attention promptly. Wear a mask and call the clinic ahead of your visit.
All suspected cases will be reported to MOH and referred to hospitals.
There is no need to avoid places where suspected cases have been to.
Stay updated at:
🔘 http://www.moh.gov.sg (MOH website)
🔘 go.gov.sg/wuhanvirus (What is the Wuhan coronavirus?)
[Sent by Gov.sg – 30 Jan] [7:54pm]
_Updates on the Wuhan coronavirus_
*Experts say to wear a mask only if you are unwell. You don’t need to wear a mask if you are well.*
The Government will be distributing a pack of *four masks* to *each household* at distribution points. These are to be used when you are sick and need to see a doctor.
5.2 million masks will be made available progressively from 1 Feb at 89 CCs and 654 RCs.
Bring along your NRIC for verification.
Grassroot leaders will help distribute to the needy.
We have a national stockpile that is sufficient, if we use it responsibly.
*Every family will have access to masks, if they need it.*
For the latest updates, go to http://www.moh.gov.sg
[Sent by Gov.sg – 30 Jan] [10:35pm]
*Update on the Wuhan coronavirus*
_Three more confirmed cases_
As of 30 January 2020, 2pm, MOH has confirmed three more cases of Wuhan coronavirus infection, bringing the total number to 13.
All 13 cases are Chinese nationals from Wuhan. There is currently no evidence of community spread in Singapore.
None of the previously announced cases are critically ill. All are in stable condition, and most are improving.
Contact tracing for all confirmed cases are ongoing.
Stay updated at:
🔘 http://www.moh.gov.sg (MOH website)
🔘 https://go.gov.sg/wuhancases (Timeline of confirmed cases)
30th January 2020
Wuhan corona virus
As of today, 𝟑𝟎 𝐉𝐚𝐧𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐲, the Chingay Parade will proceed as planned on 31 January and 1 February 2020. PA is monitoring the situation closely and will work with the relevant authority and update our position accordingly.
PA will also adopt enhanced measures for temperature screening and deploy additional medical personnel to render assistance at the Chingay site. We urge everyone to stay vigilant and continue to adopt good personal hygiene practices. If you are not feeling well, please do seek medical attention and rest at home. Should anyone feel unwell when they are at the Parade, they can approach our staff for assistance.
We seek everyone’s understanding and support for these measures at Chingay 2020. Let’s stay united and ride through this together.
[NB the Chingay Parade is like the NottingHill Carnival without the alcohol etc. and is organised by the People’s Association “PA”]
Straits Times online article
Wuhan virus: 5 things to know about collecting your masks from Feb 1
SINGAPORE – There have been 10 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus reported in Singapore, all of whom involve Chinese nationals from Wuhan. As concerns over the virus spread, Singaporeans have been flocking to buy masks, with many stores and pharmacies running out of stock.
The Government has said that there are enough surgical masks in the stockpile, if they are used when needed. Healthcare institutions have to get priority, but as a one-off measure, more than five million masks will be released to households.
Here are five things that you need to know about how to collect your masks.
1. Who will the masks be given to?
The Government will give more than 5.2 million masks to over 1.3 million households. Each household will get four masks. All local households in private and public housing estates will be eligible.
This is a one-time government measure.
2. When can the masks be collected?
Mask collection will start progressively from Saturday (Feb 1), according to the distribution plan by each constituency. It is expected to be completed by Feb 9.
The public can collect their masks from 2pm to 10pm on Saturday and 10am to 9pm from Sunday to Feb 9.
Residents living in public housing will get to collect their masks from Saturday while those living in private housing will collect their masks from next Thursday.
Priority will be given to areas with a higher number of vulnerable residents as well as rental block and Pioneer Generation residents.
3. Where can I collect my masks?
Residents living in public estates can collect them at one of 654 residents’ committee centres (RCs) from Saturday to next Wednesday (Feb 5). Thereafter, they can get them from one of 89 community centres (CCs).
Those living in private estates can collect their masks at CCs.
4. What do I need to bring for verification?
You will need to bring your NRIC to verify your home address.
5. How can I obtain more information on the mask distribution process?
You can check RC noticeboards, digital display panels and social media platforms on when and where to collect the masks.
Have a question on the Wuhan virus outbreak? E-mail us at email@example.com
Wuhan has been under lockdown since 23 January, to try to contain the infection. Transport is shut down, most shops and businesses closed, and people are being advised to stay at home.
Singapore is setting up a quarantine facility on Pulau Ubin, an island north-east of the city-state’s mainland.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore [email]
Amidst the current public health concerns, please be assured that it is safe to share spaces with our animals. Our animals enjoy good welfare, state-of-the-art veterinary care and regular health screenings. Regardless, we urge all guests to practice good personal hygiene and to wash your hands before and after coming into contact with our animals.
Community News on FB
This music video was shared by the Bradell Heights community (where we live). It is not a parody.
The following updates have been issued on FB as well – as two of the confirmed cases are under home quarantine in our area. There has been a deep clean of all common areas following the confirmation of the two cases.
During a media conference with Minister Lawrence Wong this afternoon, we announced that the Government will issue four surgical masks to each household from this weekend.
The masks are for residents to use when they are unwell and going to seek medical help. Upon medical assistance, healthcare professionals will be able to assess the subsequent need for more surgical masks.
During times of uncertainty, it is natural that some will take to hoarding in-demand supplies such as masks. We understand this. But such behaviour is not helpful to our collective defence and we seek Singaporeans’ understanding that the priority for our mask stockpile will have to go to our frontline healthcare workers and the most vulnerable in our society.
We are actively working on identifying new suppliers for in-demand items and will also ensure that existing lines are kept robust. However, in these uncertain times, we must be mindful that there is keen competition from others to secure their supplies as well. Many global suppliers are prioritising China because it is the epicenter of the outbreak. Places such as Taiwan have also banned the export of surgical masks and we expect more to follow suit.
We are also aware of concerns about profiteering. Today, the Price Controller will issue warning letters to retailers such as Deen Express suspected of profiteering. We have also sent notification letters to e-commerce platforms to cooperate with MTI and provide us with requested information on errant sellers on their platforms.
These are challenging times and people are fearful. We understand and want to do all we can to reassure Singaporeans. By providing each household with their own set of masks, we hope to address concerns about the purchase of masks and allow our supplies to return to normalcy. I thank Singaporeans for their understanding and patience during this period and we will continue to work hard to contain the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus. CCS
<Masks for all Households; Use Responsibly>
We have sufficient masks in the national stockpile if everyone uses them responsibly. Responsible usage means following medical advice – only those who are sick need to wear masks; those who are well do not need to wear masks.
Over the last 9 days, we released more than 5 million masks from the national stockpile to retailers. They were snapped up in hours. Yet many Singaporeans are still unable to get a mask. The current situation is clearly not sustainable.
This is why the Taskforce has decided to change our distribution method, as my colleague Chan Chun Sing and I announced this morning. First, we will prioritise the national stockpile of masks for essential services, namely our healthcare workers at the frontline. Second, for the general public we will release masks from the national stockpile directly to Singaporeans. In particular we will provide a packet of 4 masks each for every local household.
We are doing this to assure all Singaporeans that if any member of the family falls sick and needs a mask, they will have one at hand. But remember to use the masks responsibly. Do not wear the masks immediately. Keep this as a precaution and use the masks only if someone in the family falls sick and needs to go out to see the doctor.
I know many Singaporeans are concerned about the virus and want to protect themselves and their families. The best thing to do is to uphold good personal hygiene. Wash your hands regularly with soap; do not use your hands to touch your face; if you are sick, see a doctor and stay at home until you recover.
With individual and collective responsibility, we can maintain a strong defence against the virus, and overcome this together.
Deloitte FB post
With the Wuhan virus outbreak, economy watchers are using 2003’s SARS relief package as a guide on what to prescribe for affected businesses.
Our Tax and Legal Regional Managing Partner, Low Hwee Chua, shares insights on the measures that can be taken to ease the hit on the most adversely impacted sectors, such as tourism and transport.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/3aQY8Dg
Singapore Sports Hub FB post
Due to coronavirus proliferation concerns, we are deeply sorry to announce that TAEYEON Concert – The UNSEEN – in SINGAPORE on 01 February 2020 at Singapore Indoor Stadium has been postponed.
The safety of artist, patrons and staff is our top priority and we will continue to act on advice from the authorities on the coronavirus and take precautionary measures in line with prevention efforts.
Patrons who have purchased tickets will receive a full refund through the original mode of payment. Full refund details will be made available at http://bit.ly/2vpU6BB soon.
Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding.
What are we doing?
Carrying on as normal. We always disinfect our hands before eating when out and wash them at home. No change of routine for us. We’re not wearing masks as we’re not ill. We do have a supply of masks in from when we both had colds a few weeks ago but we haven’t needed them.
I am challenging Whatsapp rumours and unsourced information whenever I see it- although that is clearly ruffling a few feathers (British understatement!).
You’re still more likely to get run over than contract the Coronavirus so don’t panic.