In the past few days, multiple European countries have dropped their Covid-19 mandates. France, Denmark and Britain are now returning to life pre-Covid. While the coming weeks will be the true litmus test on whether they made the right choice, the fact of it is that it’s a matter of time before the rest of the world follows. So, the question here is does Singapore need to follow suit and drop its Covid-19 restrictions?
The long winded answer is yes, but not like the Europeans. We’ll have to do it slowly.
Social factors not withstanding (mask fatigue, discrimination allegations), it doesn’t make financial sense (other than to the medical industry) to keep Covid-19 restrictions past 2022.
Hell, some might argue that we should nix them by Q2 2022 at the latest.
Tourism needs to get back up to pre-Covid 19 numbers and the only way to do so is to open up the borders for everybody. Sadly, the days of having Singapore for Singaporeans (mostly) are numbered. In a couple of months, VTL flights will probably be phased out, and regular air travel return.
Mask wearing, while mostly normal for us Asians, isn’t looked upon too fondly for the rest of the world…so that’s probably the first thing that will go. At least when you’re outdoors.
With Omicron being so readily transmissible, it makes sense to keep the masking requirement for indoors or on public transport. Going into malls, cinemas, MRT stations and the like will probably require you to mask up. Safe Distancing Ambassadors and Officers will have an easier time enforcing it too since they can just hole themselves up at entrances to these places. Hopefully, some of them won’t be as rude as before.
Honestly, I’m all for that. I don’t really feel safe being in a crowd nowadays without my mask. I’ve been lucky enough not to have caught Covid-19 and I’d very much like to keep it that way for as long as I can, thank you very much.
One of the most troublesome Covid-19 restrictions, TraceTogether will not be going anywhere, despite what some people would expect.
It’s the only feasible way to keep tabs on people and contact them in a hurry in case of a major outbreak. In fact, it might even evolve and incorporate other Governmental features (like integrating the SingPass app) to simplify things for people.
ART and PCR tests will be the norm from now on for events and functions. I foresee integration with TraceTogether for the public to upload their ART results for verification to events (like weddings).
Of course, things like visitor limits per house will be removed so you can probably have a rollicking countdown party this New Year’s Eve. Medical institutions like hospitals won’t be letting up though so expect current restrictions (and even tighter measures) to last for quite a while.
It makes sense considering how vulnerable the people there are, so don’t expect a return to norm when it comes to anything health or sick people related.
Overall, I predict the future of Singapore will integrate some restrictions and make them permanent for the foreseeable future while dropping some of the more tiresome ones. We’re never going to be as carefree as life before Covid-19 but with medication (and who knows maybe a cure) we should see some resemblance of how we were return over the next few months of 2022.
…that is unless a deadlier, more transmissible variant pops up.