- Jan 29, 2021
- Reaction score
They Had the Vaccines and a Plan to Reopen. Instead They Got Cold Feet.The vaccines were supposed to be the ticket out of the pandemic. But in Singapore, things did not go according to plan.
The Southeast Asian city-state was widely considered a success story in its initial handling of the coronavirus. It closed its borders, tested and traced aggressively and was one of the first countries in Asia to order vaccines.
A top politician told the public that an 80 percent vaccination rate was the criterion for a phased reopening. Singapore has now fully inoculated 83 percent of its population, but instead of opening up, it is doing the opposite.
In September, with cases doubling every eight to 10 days, the government reinstated restrictions on gatherings. The United States said its citizens should reconsider travel to the country. Long lines started forming at the emergency departments in several hospitals. People were told once again they should work from home.
The country’s experience has become a sobering case study for other nations pursuing reopening strategies without first having had to deal with large outbreaks in the pandemic. For the Singapore residents who believed the city-state would reopen once the vaccination rate reached a certain level, there was a feeling of whiplash and nagging questions about what it would take to reopen if vaccines were not enough.
Singapore’s experience offers lessons for other countries that want to reduce pandemic restrictions but have yet to deal with widespread infections.