Forum: Stay vigilant, the battle's not yet over

Office workers, some in masks, at Raffles Place during lunchtime on 17 Feb 2020.
Office workers, some in masks, at Raffles Place during lunchtime on 17 Feb 2020.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

We have done quite well thus far in containing and fighting the coronavirus outbreak as a nation despite the initial fear and panic, and some selfish responses on the part of some.

Credit goes to many, including the ministerial team handling the outbreak, the healthcare and ambulance teams, those involved in contact tracing, as well as those at the airport and at immigration checkpoints who do their jobs without being noticed.

I wish to highlight the need to maintain this momentum, uphold vigilance and continue the spirit of endurance and cooperation as the battle is not yet over.

These are necessary as we do not know as much as we ought to about the virus and how long it will take before we are declared virus-free.

The infection in other countries can still be ongoing even if we are relatively free of its spread.

The long work periods required may cause fatigue to set in: It is easy to make mistakes when we are physically and emotionally drained and we might resort to cutting short certain procedures, which may be disastrous in the fight against the spread of the infection.

It is also easy to be complacent, especially when the pressure seems to abate.

This call to vigilance and endurance does not mean that we should be anxious and fearful.

It bears saying that the tide of the battle may change suddenly when soldiers let their guard down and assume that the war is over.

But it bears saying that the tide of the battle may change suddenly when soldiers let their guard down and assume that the war is over.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2020, with the headline 'Stay vigilant, the battle's not yet over'. Print Edition | Subscribe