Forum: Socialising improves mental well-being

Some people are understandably cautious about phase two of Singapore's reopening (Defer letting people from different households dine together at restaurants, by Mr Stephen Chua; and Two areas of concern as Singapore enters phase two, by Mr Ang Miah Boon, both June 18).

However, I am not in favour of placing more restrictions on what we can or cannot do in phase two.

I applaud the Government's decision to initiate phase two before the end of this month. The infection numbers within the community have been low enough for us to have the confidence to go into the next phase earlier.

The authorities have also stepped up community testing and have enhanced contact tracing efforts.

Stringent measures in terms of the dos and the don'ts of various activities under phase two are in place.

Therefore, there is little reason to fear the spread of the virus, and it is now up to every individual to practise personal and social responsibility.

There has been debate recently on which is more important: lives or livelihoods.

While some people have argued that lives are more important than the economy, they have overlooked the fact that the pandemic has also taken a massive social and psychological toll.

Many people have been cooped up at home for the last few months and unable to meet their friends and family. We should not further extend the restrictions on people meeting socially with others. Activities such as dining with friends can improve one's mental well-being.

Mr Ang's concerns about children going to playgrounds and bookshops can be resolved by having closer parental supervision and retail shops making hand sanitisers available.

Human beings need sufficient social and psychological space in order for them to maintain a sense of well-being. Putting more restrictions in place or delaying the full reopening of our society and economy will only add to the damage that we have already suffered.

Jeffrey Say Seck Leong

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