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Should we panic if the Wuhan coronavirus Dorscon level in Singapore changes to Orange?

By February 6, 2020Current

TL;DR – The short answer is no.

According to the Ministry of Health, Singapore’s current status for the coronavirus outbreak is Yellow.

But, what does the colour Yellow even mean?

In case you didn’t know, the DORSCON, or Disease Outbreak Response System Condition, is part of Singapore’s pandemic preparedness plan that describes the current situation and what has to be done.

Currently, Singapore is at Yellow alert – which generally means that life can go on as normal on the whole. However, there is a mild infection, or a severe infection that is not spreading here, but about which the community needs to be careful.

On Tuesday (Feb 5), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the situation could change to Orange if there is a widespread transmission from unknown sources.

In the event that the status changes to Orange, it would mean that the disease is severe with transmission, but is generally contained, and has moderate to high public health impact – as was the case with severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in 2003.

Red, which is just one level above, would indicate an out-of-control pandemic whereby the disease is severe AND is spreading widely.

Should we start panicking when the status changes then?

The answer is no.

Authorities have said the Dorscon categories are not cast in stone but are general guidelines for action.

Measures such as quarantine and temperature screening have already been implemented even though Singapore is at Yellow, and the Health Crisis Management Group meets daily to coordinate medical and operational responses.

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The purpose of the Dorscon measures is to delay or limit the spread of the disease in the country.

Moving to Yellow already alerts the whole of government to stand ready. To handle the current crisis, Singapore has gone a step further and set up a high-level multi-ministerial task force to coordinate a whole of government response.

Having said that, no matter how stringent the official measures are, it would not be enough without each and every person’s effort in doing their part to maintain good personal hygiene and exercise social responsibility.

  • Maintain good personal hygiene and exercise social responsibility
  • Stay at home if you are sick, avoid social gatherings
  • Wear a mask only if you are sick, and don’t wear one if you are well
  • Wash your hands regularly and properly using soap and water
  • Observe Leave of Absence (LOA) if you’ve recently travelled to China

For those who had close contact with visitors from China, especially if those visitors appeared unwell, should monitor themselves and see a doctor if they feel ill.

Let’s do our best to keep Singapore and Singaporeans safe!

Stay updated at:
www.moh.gov.sg (MOH website)
Gov.sg (Gov.sg Whatsapp)

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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