Singapore's first Covid-19 hospital cluster has led to the locking down of several wards of Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). This means that there are strict restrictions on entry into the wards, and further patients will not be admitted. To reduce spread from undetected cases in the community, the Government announced on Friday that it would also close all public places visited by the cases during their likely infectious period for two days for cleaning, and to facilitate the testing of staff at the affected places for surveillance against further spread. These are among the wide ring-fencing steps that the authorities have taken to counter the re-invasion of Singapore by the coronavirus pandemic.
Understandably, TTSH patients, their relatives and Singaporeans at large are concerned at the worrying turn that events have taken, particularly since the reach of the pandemic into Singapore has been curtailed so well with a combination of epidemiological and economic measures over the past year. But Singapore does not exist in a vacuum and given how the pandemic continues to rage elsewhere. Singapore has to be alive to the unavoidable risks of some cases infiltrating the community. The virus has shown that it will strike given half a chance to do so. Hence, it is best to be prepared that more cases could emerge, and look at whether the recent cases represent variant strains of Covid-19 that could be more infectious than the disease encountered till now. What is needed, therefore, is a higher degree of vigilance all round to ensure that a new wave does not follow in the wake of these cases.