Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Mike Hosking: Why can't we be more like Singapore on Covid?


Why on earth aren’t we like Singapore?

That question, by the way, is applicable to many facets of Singaporean life, but in this case let’s stick with Covid.

For a start, like us, Singapore has done a good job early. Like us, it’s a small island nation. Borders are comparatively simple although Malaysia to the north has been a bit of an issue.

But overall, along with places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, and us, locking up has been effective. They sit at 35 deaths for a population of about 5 million.

The difference here, and this is where the learnings are if we are smart, is they have been proactive.

They haven’t sat on their laurels, they haven’t been complacent, they’ve planned for the future.

Last week they called on our government to get some detail sorted around a bubble. Our government won’t, of course, but that didn’t stop Singapore asking.

They also said talks with Australia are about as dead in the water as you can get, which is disappointing because for all that Australia has done right, when it comes to the border and travel they have been woefully conservative. They beat us on the Tasman, but that’s not saying a lot.

So we could, if we were agile and positive about it, steal a march with Singapore.

Either way, Singapore has worked out their future, and their future is to live with Covid.

Most countries have come to the same conclusion, but not a lot of those countries managed to lock it out from the start. That’s why Singapore is vaccinating.

Which leads to the question: why is it Singapore has a programme that will have two thirds of its people with one jab within weeks and two thirds fully jabbed by august?

Think about it: same population size, same level of cases and deaths, and yet a vaccine programme a world apart. Why?

There will be no goals for zero transmission, quarantine will be dumped, and no daily case numbers will be announced.

It will be like the flu. The flu they say is part of life and so is Covid: people get it, most people don’t need a hospital far less die, it will be the new normal.

It can be tamed, not vanquished, and because most cases would be less serious, the need for contact tracing would be low.

They see the future, they have a plan, they are proactive about it, and they are getting on with it.

What part of that have they got wrong? And why oh why can’t we see it - and more importantly, why oh why aren’t we doing it?

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.


oneblokesview said...

Simple answer. Singapore is run by grownups. Not kiddies.

For information.
Cambodia's Capital City (approx 2 million) have Vaccinated 95% of their adult population...
100,000+ jabs a day. Didnt take too long.
Their efficiency would put our MOH to dismal shame.
(Yes I got jabbed here before I come back to NZ in July)

Third world sure.
But an extremely strong leader who has taken very pragmatic decisions in dealing with Covid.
And they have paid for millions of doses to make it happen, not waited patiently in line...

DeeM said...

Perhaps because it's our PM's only "success" story and she can't afford for it to go belly up on her so is holding the reins like grim death and risk-assessing every case using the precautionary principle.

If Covid got away on her then she'd have to fall back on her other star performing areas like housing, child poverty, mental health...exactly!!