Covid-19 one year on: Dark clouds and silver linings for Singapore amid pandemic

A year ago today, China alerted the world to a new virus. Covid-19 has since infected 82 million people worldwide, killing about 1.8 million. As hope emerges with several countries including Singapore starting vaccinations, The Straits Times looks at the year of dark clouds, and silver linings ahead.

The Straits Times looks at the year of dark clouds, and silver linings ahead. PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, TIMOTHY DAVID, GAVIN FOO, EPA-EFE

Many Singaporeans step up to give their time, money to the needy

The coronavirus and efforts to stem its spread took a massive toll on the economy this year, with a sharp rise in workers losing their jobs or taking a steep pay cut.

But the darkest of times also brought out the best in Singaporeans, many of whom stepped forward, to give money or their time to help.


Telecommuting amid Covid-19 pandemic paves way for new workplace culture

As the threat of contracting the coronavirus on public transport and in densely packed office spaces loomed, employees from all over the globe bade their workplaces goodbye and hunkered down at home to work.

Lights in office towers went out, and business districts fell silent. Office desks were swopped for makeshift studies at home, and meetings replaced by teleconferencing calls.


Vouchers, new tie-ups boost domestic tourism market

The Covid-19 pandemic threw a wicked curveball at the tourism industry this year when countries closed their borders to keep out the virus.

As air travel dwindled to nearly nothing, national carrier Singapore Airlines recorded its first annual net loss in its 48-year history.


Did global Covid-19 lockdowns heal the planet?

To escape the scourge of a contagious, microscopic foe, various nations went into lockdown earlier this year.

As people were confined to their homes, cars stowed away and industrial activities slowed, it was as though an invisible broom had swept away the pall of smog, soot and harmful pollutants, to reveal clear skies.


Turning to local production and leveraging technology to ensure Singapore's food security

In times of crisis, vulnerabilities become especially apparent.

For Singapore, the empty supermarket shelves during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic were but a symptom of a larger worry for a nation that imports most of its food: food security.


Mask usage keeps viruses at bay, but adds to pollution

In April, when Covid-19 infections showed no signs of abating and the evidence was growing in favour of wearing face masks to prevent transmissions, it became compulsory for everyone to don one that covered their mouths and noses as long as they were not at home.

People soon learnt that the authorities meant business when those who for whatever reason did not have a mask on faced fines.


Jobs lost but new opportunities found as well

A once-in-a-century global pandemic has disrupted lives, killed people, upended commerce, shuttered businesses, destroyed jobs and simply caused untold chaos to the order in our lives.

One of the darkest shadows it cast was the way it reinforced inequities.


The next pandemic is already on the horizon

Covid-19 will not be the world's last pandemic. Many of us may even live to see the next one, but we are unlikely to be any more prepared for it than we were for this one.

That is the bleak opinion of Dr Kenneth Iserson, professor emeritus of emergency medicine at the University of Arizona in the United States, who specialises in global and disaster medicine.


Covid-19: One year on, the fight continues

Singapore, this chart will show you why your personal sacrifices - no travel, stay-at-home, circuit breaker - have made all the difference this past year.


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