Forum: Slow and steady approach to Singapore’s opening is prudent

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Aug 13 that we cannot keep Singaporeans "bubble-wrapped'' in the employment market and that they have to face the competition (Not possible to 'bubble wrap' Singapore workers from foreign competition: Heng, Aug 14).

Likewise, as a next step after getting more than 70 per cent of the population vaccinated, Singapore is keeping its door ajar. By introducing a few Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs), a glimmer of hope can be seen.

The city-state cannot afford to stay within its own bubble for long. The wheels of the economy need to start rolling before they get rusty. The Government cannot keep dipping into reserves and giving out more subsidies.

As the world comes to terms with the reality that the virus is here to stay, policymakers need to be adaptive and look for other solutions, before the economy is damaged beyond repair.

The red dot has to retain its position as an aviation and logistics hub.

Singapore has made many sacrifices and come a long way to stand on its own two feet with pride. Stagnancy is not an option.

With vaccination as a shield, as well as a fortified health system, the Republic has to open its borders once more. It has to test its readiness and resilience. With a higher vaccination rate, despite continued infection possibilities, the fatality rate can be kept close to zero.

Taking a slow and steady approach to opening up is a prudent and inevitable move that, with collective support, has the chance to succeed.

Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar

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