Forum: Complete border closure not feasible here

Recently, as a result of an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the community, I have read comments on social media and also heard from people upset with the Government for continuing to allow foreigners from high-risk countries to arrive here.

They say this is the main cause of these new infections, as most Singaporeans have cooperated with the Government's guidelines and controls to prevent the spread of the virus.

As an individual, I am obviously concerned about a new wave of infections, which has led to tighter measures. But the Government has to look after the whole country.

It has to strike a difficult balance between allowing and restricting foreign arrivals.

By looking at the situation from the point of view of people running retail or food and beverage businesses, or people in the construction, cleaning and maintenance industries, Singaporeans will understand why the Government cannot enforce a complete closure of the country's borders.

As it stands, these people are already facing a shortage of labour.

Just visit any construction site in Singapore and see how few workers there are who are not from South Asian countries.

It is the stark reality that if not for migrant workers:

• First-time Housing Board flat buyers might have to wait much longer to get their flats;

• Singapore's roads would not be as well maintained;

• There would not be sufficient trained nursing staff in local hospitals

Singapore does not have enough local workers to work in these industries.

A complete closure of its borders might also lead to retaliatory actions from other countries, which would create issues for Singapore residents who need to travel for important business or to attend to personal emergency matters.

So while Singaporeans groan and moan about the frustrations regarding restrictions on the freedoms of daily life, we should all put things in perspective and understand that we have to handle the situation with care, concern and sensitivity.

Lim Hock Meng

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.