Forum: Lock down Singapore? Not at this point

In a photo from March 20, 2020, a flight information display system at Changi Airport Terminal 4 shows a list of cancelled flights.
In a photo from March 20, 2020, a flight information display system at Changi Airport Terminal 4 shows a list of cancelled flights.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

I disagree with Mr Soh Kar Chiang, who suggested that it is best for Singapore to have a lockdown (A lockdown in Singapore would be for the best, March 24).

Not at this point. The whole idea of a lockdown is to buy time for health systems to prepare. Our healthcare system is still far from bring stretched, and to have a lockdown under such circumstances is not only unnecessary but also wasteful.

It will cause the economy to bleed even more. Many retail and food businesses are already on their knees. Even attractions like Jewel Changi Airport and the zoo are also suffering.

A lockdown will cause even more job losses.

This crisis cuts acutely in two ways. A massive amount of money is incurred in fighting it, and much money is also lost economically.

Big countries like the United States or China can afford a lockdown because while those locked-down cities are not generating wealth, they have other cities - or engines - that are still humming.

Singapore is just Singapore. This is a peculiar vulnerability that Singaporeans should keep in mind.

Phillip Tan Fong Lip

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2020, with the headline 'Lock down Singapore? Not at this point'. Print Edition | Subscribe