Forum: Help public deal with anxiety over disease

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's announcement of new protocols for Covid-19 as Singapore plods towards a Covid-19 endemic phase provided some relief to a pandemic-fatigued nation (Treat Covid-19 seriously, but no need to live in fear: PM, Oct 10).

I appreciate the amount of effort that has gone into refining the various safe management measures, testing protocols and home recovery programme to prepare for the new normal.

But I believe another important aspect to address is helping the population deal with the anxiety - and, in some cases, paranoia - associated with the disease.

Over the last one month, I have had close shaves with infection from being in close contact with people who had visited a Covid-19 cluster area and people who tested positive.

Being a responsible citizen, I informed relevant contacts of my possible exposure. While the response I got was largely polite, the paranoia in some cases was eye-opening.

Although I was only a second-level contact, from the reactions I received, it appears that to some, Covid-19 has a stigma almost akin to that of leprosy in days of yore. This experience has led me to become more sympathetic to those who have contracted the disease.

While there is no room for complacency, I believe there is no need for paranoia either.

As PM Lee highlighted, with vaccination, Covid-19 has become a treatable, mild disease for most of us, and everyone will encounter the virus sooner or later.

Hence, we need to update our mindsets and not be paralysed by fear. Otherwise, it will only put the brakes on the strategy of living with Covid-19.

Karen Yip Lai Kham

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