By Michelle Ng


The month that passed saw celebrations and worry – many of us indulged in the Chinese New Year festivities, which, when compared to the last two years was perhaps the most celebratory and closest to pre-Covid times.


But that soon came with worry – when Covid numbers began to increase again.


Yet, unlike past response, no Movement Control Order was declared, and in my view – rightly so. We must respond with the science, and there must be a certain level of independence developed as we gain knowledge about the virus and how to respond to it.


Worth highlighting here also is the need for us to read data differently. In the Whatsapp groups I have with resident representatives, I noticed unnerving worry over increasing numbers. We were reading data like how we did the first MCO. That cannot be the way moving forward. The game changer since then are the vaccines plus booster programme – a vaccinated persons’ reaction and the transmissibility of the virus is simply not the same as before. Therefore, to determine severity, what we should instead be looking at are hospitalisation, ICU and death rates.


These are my observations of 5 laudable efforts from our residents which I would like to highlight, and which we should all learn from:-


  1. Company imposed work from home. As medical data overall demonstrated an increase in cases, I noticed a corresponding decrease in cars on the road. What that told me was that companies began initiating work from home programmes.


  1. Self-test before events. I have attended two weddings and a few community programmes in the course of the last month. On all occasions, attendees were asked to self-test before or upon arrival. No transmission was reported from any of those programmes.


  1. Test frequently. I noticed on social media an increase in reporting of scheduled self-tests mandated by employers. This is a prudent move, as early detection makes a big difference in terms of response. What would be even better is if employers could cover the cost of these scheduled tests for employees.


  1. Increase in 1st dose inquiries. I want to commend as well residents who have been so brave to come forward to ask for direction on how they can get their first dose. My prayer is for more friends and relatives to have this important conversation with loved ones who have not taken the vaccine, and that vaccine confidence will increase.


  1. Ventilation. I am grateful for residents who have shown so much understanding in the decision my office took to open up our windows and use fans instead of air condition. Ventilation is an important tool in slowing or halting the transmission of the virus. Where possible, we should implement it.