The News Lens
By: Roy Ngerng
Singapore reported signs of panic buying due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) this week. How did this happen in a city generally known for its perceived stability? How is it that Taiwan, a close neighbor of China, has managed the crisis with more grace?
To a certain extent, the Lion City’s public health management of the coronavirus outbreak has been satisfactory. The health ministry adopted some practices that deserve attention and might even be worth replicating. For example, health authorities made a swift decision in January to test all patients with pneumonia for the coronavirus, a key to uncover cases of infection in people who had no recent travel history to China. It’s no small feat, considering that Singapore has 500 to 600 patients diagnosed with pneumonia per week.
Professor Kenneth Mak, the ministry's director of medical services, told The Straits Times that the testing capacity isn’t going to be an issue. “In fact, we have sufficient capacity to test these individuals (and) those who come on as suspected cases further downstream as well,” he said.
Taiwan’s current preventive strategy, however, remains to only test people with close contact with confirmed patients, including those who are asymptomatic, based on recommendations by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [FULL STORY]