Coronavirus pandemic

Life in the time of Covid-19

What should I be doing this weekend?

I've been cooped up at home all week. Do I have to spend the weekend indoors too?

• You could get some fresh air. Singapore’s hot, humid weather is not Covid-19’s friend.

• Like most people here, the virus seems to prefer a cooler, drier climate - the kind we enjoy indoors.

Can I go to the mall?

• Again, go if you need to buy something urgently but try, where possible, to go when it's less crowded.

• With new safe distancing rules in place and guidelines that limit the number of visitors at any one time, why waste your precious weekend waiting in line to get inside malls?  Staying home also isn’t so bad, it’s where the heart is.

But what if I need to buy food or other essential items?

• If you must get what you must, make it fast and avoid being out for too long.

• There is no need for the entire family to go out to get groceries or food. If possible, avoid eating out. Order to go instead and have your meals in the comfort of your home.

The fight against Covid-19 is not something that the Government alone can do. Every Singaporean has to be enlisted in this fight against the virus.It is so critical that we take this seriously.


You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbour, your neighbour is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with. This sounds silly, it’s not.


Can I at least go to the market?

• Go only if you must and observe the 1m safe distancing guidelines. Markings are being drawn on the floor at 83 wet markets to remind people to keep a safe distance from one another when queueing.

• The best option is to do your marketing on weekdays when it is less crowded.

What about family outings?

• By all means, enjoy time with your immediate family, although you may want to keep extended family at arm’s length for now.

• There is a lot you can do outdoors with your children, such as visiting one of more than 350 parks in Singapore. Just remember to stand 1m apart from other families you see there.

Can grandma and grandpa continue to take care of the kids and go out with us?

• Remember that seniors are most vulnerable to the virus, so they and the people around them need to be specially careful about hygiene, safe distancing and keeping away from crowds.

• Teach the children to give grandma or grandpa air kisses for now, instead of a hug or a peck on the cheek. Show your love by doing the chores they need done, such as buying items from the wet market, so they can stay home more.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2020, with the headline 'Life in the time of Covid-19'. Print Edition | Subscribe