Strategist Singapore – 1 in 5 people wearing protective face masks walk along the Orchard Road shopping area in Singapore on November 28, 2021. As Singapore launched its “live with COVID” strategy, backed by one of the world’s largest vaccination programs, the wealthy city-state saw its infection rate rise, leading many to question whether the timing was right. (AP Photo/Annabelle Liang) 1 of 5 people wearing protective face masks walk along Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping area on November 28, 2021. As Singapore launched its strategy to “live with COVID”, a country in the world supported it. In the lead-up to vaccination programs, the wealthy city saw its infection rates rise, leading many to question whether the time was right. (AP Photo/Annabel Liang)
SINGAPORE (AP) — As Singapore implements its strategy to combat COVID-19, with the help of one of the world’s leading vaccination programs, the wealthy city has seen its rate of illnesses rise, leaving many people sick. Asked if it was time? right there
But with the numbers rising as fast as they are, there is cautious hope that the widely-watched plan has helped Singapore turn the corner on the epidemic. What is effective? , and what not.
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“I think now that COVID seems like it’s just the flu for everyone,” Glacier Chong said, taking a break from shopping on Singapore’s famous Orchard Road to look at a fountain and listen to Christmas music from a row of loud speakers. The blast is being done. the street
“Everyone is getting used to it; It seems like if you get COVID it’s normal now. COVID seems to be a curable disease. “
With 94% of the eligible population fully vaccinated and another 26% already with booster shots, even as the number of infected people began to rise, nearly 99% had no symptoms or only mild symptoms, which means That the health care system was under pressure. But do not despair. . Deaths increased but remained low, and most were elderly people with underlying medical conditions, a disproportionate number of whom were unvaccinated.
Singapore was able to get more people vaccinated by ensuring that there were few barriers to getting vaccinated, increasing problems for the unvaccinated – such as banning them from eating at restaurants or going to malls – and General confidence in the government and its approach, said. Alex Cook, an infectious disease modeling and statistician at the National University of Singapore’s Sao Swee Hock School of Public Health.
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“Perhaps the main lesson to be learned from Singapore is to make it easier to get vaccinated, and harder not to,” he said.
At the start of the pandemic, Southeast Asia’s main business and trade hub kept the spread of coronavirus cases in the single or low double digits for nearly a year by imposing strict “circuit breaker” shutdowns.
With a vaccine rollout now underway, an aggressive testing and tracking system, and strict health and safety guidelines in place, the nation of 5.5 million felt confident as they began in August what they called a “transition journey to a Covid-resilient nation.” ” called -19. “
It was part of a decision to start treating COVID-19 as a pandemic, recognizing that it will not be possible to reduce cases to zero in the long term and that it is time to allow people and businesses to reopen. Their normal life should be resumed. slowly.
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In addition to a largely vaccinated population, Singapore determined that its testing was extensive enough to be able to quickly identify and detect clusters of new outbreaks, and that their health care system could address more serious problems. to face.
The highly mobile Delta variant threw the plan a curveball, and the government re-tightened some lockdown measures in September, such as reducing group sizes for social gatherings and dining out in restaurants.
By the end of October, Singapore hit a 7-day rolling average of nearly 700 cases per million people, the worst of the entire pandemic.
This week it was down to 258 per million. The beginning of the outbreak in 2020 is still above the worst peak but in a clear downward trend. In total, it reached more than 1,000 daily infections at 5,300 and is now below 1,000.
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Deaths reached a 7-day average of 2.57 per million people on November 10, and are now slightly above 1, according to data from our world.
In contrast, during its most recent surge, neighboring Malaysia posted a record high of 12.71 deaths per million in September. It has also seen that these numbers have been significantly reduced and are now almost the same as in Singapore, with the help of a drive in which around 80% of people are now fully vaccinated.
If something goes wrong, Cook said he wants to start allowing home isolation at the end of August, instead of hospitals or special facilities, as things start to pick up quickly. His goal was to stress the health care system, but instead it led to the rapid spread of the virus in communities, he said.
“For future potentially deadly virus outbreaks, countries should seriously consider the wisdom of allowing infected patients to recover at home, however mildly and symptomatic they may be,” he said.
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Restrictions have been eased again, but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday that with the emergence of the U.K. revolution, the relaxation would have to be withdrawn, and said Singaporeans must prepare for “more bumps in the road” from the virus. like evolution
“We may be forced to take a step or two back before we can take further steps.” And safely get back to all the things we love to do.”
For starters, Health Minister Ong Yew King announced on Tuesday that he would suspend reopening measures while he conducts an Omicron type review, and will increase testing of passengers and frontline workers.
The country moved forward on Monday, however, with the partial reopening of the Causeway Bridge, connecting Singapore to Malaysia, which had been closed for nearly two years.
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In Orchard Road, housewife Lee Ching Yi said the appearance of the omicron mutation is a cause for concern as two of her three young children have not yet been vaccinated.
However, he decided it was safe enough to take a quick shopping trip with his family to pick out a new Apple Watch for his oldest, 12, as a reward for doing well on recent tests.
“We’re visiting the store and then eating dinner out, because we can eat in groups of five,” she said. “But we are looking at a location that is al fresco for safety reasons. You have to balance things.”
With such precautions and its high vaccination rate, Singapore remains in a good position to face the new changes that are emerging, which are expected, Cook said.
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“As long as a vaccine still provides strong protection against serious disease, I would not expect the new version to lead to a fundamental revision of strategies for avoiding COVID,” he said.
Sitting at a fountain on Orchard Road with Glacier Chong, her boyfriend, Marcus Yeo, said he wasn’t too worried about revealing an Omicron based on Singapore’s history until now.
“This variety is still somewhat unknown to us,” he said. “But seeing as how we’ve grown from Delta Wars, I think we’ll be fine. Singapore-headquartered fintech specialist Saxo Markets has appointed Charu Channa to join the market strategists team based in Asia Pacific, which includes Jessica Amir in Sydney and Redmond Wong in Hong Kong.
Based in Singapore, Chanana will focus on delivering thematic investment strategies for Saxo’s clients worldwide, according to a statement from the company.
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His main areas of focus will be macro issues, foreign exchange, commodities and equities in Southeast Asia, Japan, India and the US.
He has ten years of experience in financial markets, most recently as Chief Asia Economist at Continuum Economics, where he covered macroeconomic analysis for emerging Asian countries, particularly India and Southeast Asia.
Based in Sydney, Amir is responsible for providing real-time market updates and data analysis, working closely with Saxo’s global retail trading team to deliver Australian-specific market insights.
With 14 years of experience in financial markets and media, Amir was most recently with Bell Direct, where she was a senior market analyst and media presenter.
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Wang, who is based in Hong Kong, has three decades of experience in the industry. He is responsible for developing Saxo’s global investment strategy, research focused on Hong Kong and Mainland China, and delivering actionable insights across various asset classes and trading instruments.
The three new hires will join Saxo’s strategic team, led by Saxo Group Chief Economist and Chief Investment Officer, Stan Jacobsen, and will also report locally to the CEOs of each market.
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