Important lesson Taiwan should learn from Singapore’s virus response

Singapore was a poster child of coronavirus mitigation until it became the most affected country in Southeast Asia

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a store along the Orchard Road shopping belt in Singapore, Friday, April 10, 2020. The Singapore government put in place "circuit breaker" measures in the light of a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in recent days. Under the measures which will last through May 4, people have to stay home and step out only for essential tasks, such as going to work if they are in essential services, buying food and groceries, or for a short bout of exercise. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Most countries gazed upon Singapore’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak until very recently, calling it a masterclass in infectious disease mitigation.

Contrary to all expectations, the tiny city-state reported 1,111 new cases earlier Tuesday to increase its total to 9,125, the most in Southeast Asia. It marked the second straight day of over 1,000 new cases after a single-day high of 1,426 were announced a day earlier.

Things have for sure started to fall apart in Singapore despite the world-class healthcare system, manageable population size and sweeping governmental powers which contributed to the country’s initial success in handling COVID-19.

Why? Singapore authorities reportedly made a dangerous mistake – overlooking and sidelining its migrant worker population – which has spelled doomed for the entire country.

The government (and perhaps the people of Singapore) maybe have considered that the COVID-19 cases were manageable to a certain extent and begun to fall into a bout of complacency with regards to non-Singaporean migrant workers.

By not addressing the migrant worker population, however, Singapore has reached a stage where it’s worse off than even the most affected places in the world.

That’s an important lesson Taiwan needs to learn from Singapore, the government needs to remain active in promoting awareness of the virus and getting everyone, including the military, to actively participate in social distancing and preventive measures.