Forum: Covid-19 restrictions are necessary to prevent deaths

Straits Times senior health correspondent Salma Khalik questioned why the Government has extended existing Covid-19 measures by another month (Better to bite bullet and open up than delay the inevitable, Oct 21).

The number of deaths has been increasing daily and this should not be brushed aside. No responsible government should allow deaths when deaths are preventable through curbs.

Even though a large percentage of positive cases display mild or no symptoms, we must not forget Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's promise that Singapore will get to the new normal "in a careful and safe manner, with no one left behind to fend for themselves, and with as few casualties as possible along the way".

The curbs imposed are also meant to help manage the pressure on the healthcare system.

Other than beds, let us not forget that the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are fighting daily battles, and opening up would only overwhelm the healthcare system.

Worryingly, we are also seeing an increase in the number of deaths of those who are fully vaccinated.

The common narrative is that they had underlying medical conditions, but this does not excuse the fact that they are Covid-linked deaths.

Another point I wish to add is that the daily case numbers may be grossly under-reported, especially for Protocol 2 cases - individuals who are well but who tested positive for Covid-19.

These positive cases may simply stay at home for 72 hours and not report their results to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The actual situation may be different from MOH's narrative that the rate of transmission has moderated.

I believe that the extension of measures is the best solution given the existing situation.

Pursuing the path of living with Covid-19 should be a calibrated and careful process, and the multi-ministry task force must fully consider all implications and not be easily swayed by the group with a higher risk appetite calling for further easing of measures.

Gary Teo Teck Chye