Our healthcare heroes work extra hours, work extra hard to make sure all of us are safe

By May 15, 2020Current

TL;DR – So safe that Singaporeans are painting a surreal picture of calm and life goes on here on the island. 

So, there’s a lot of COVID-19 news and updates every day. From the authorities in Singapore, and also, many of us have taken to reading what’s happening around the world too. I don’t blame you if you’re having a bit of trouble catching up and remembering what we stand and all.

So now, let me share some quick facts and numbers from the past week. Yeps, from the Singapore scene.

  1. Daily testing has been ramped up from about 2,900 a day in the initial days to 8,000.
  2. Very soon, we will have the capability to perform 20,000 daily tests and eventually, 40,000.
  3. Running 40,000 daily tests is probably one of the highest rates of testing in the world.
  4. More than 3,000 migrant workers are tested daily now.
  5. A  total of over 32,000 migrant workers has been tested, roughly 10% of the migrant worker population residing in dormitories.
  6. We want to test them all, but it will take weeks or even months to finish testing the remaining 90%.
  7. It’s not just testing. We are also putting in place testing and isolation.
  8. Some 20,000 migrant workers will be ready for discharge by the end of May.
  9. The foreign worker infection numbers reported every day are still high, but we have seen it coming down from the 1000-range to 700-range. This shows signs of the situating stabilising and is good news.
  10. In the local community front, the daily numbers have been getting lower and lower, proof that the circuit breaker (CB) measures are working.
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If you have gone out during the CB period, it’s actually quite surreal

At home when I read and watch what’s happening in other parts of the world, it all paints a scary picture. People are dying, in hospitals and also outside of hospitals. Healthcare workers are out of PPE and resorting to improvising from trash bags and what-have-you. Millions and millions of jobs are lost, and people are driven to taking their own lives.

But here in Singapore? Well, like I’d said, it’s surreal.

I see and hear none of the panic, none of the extreme worry and concern. The level and degree of fear over losing our lives and livelihoods are at a completely different level as outside of Singapore.

Here, I see people jogging in the parks. Here, I see people queuing for baking stuff outside Phoon Huat. Here, I see people rejoicing when McDees reopened. Here, I see people feeling sad because bubbletea shops are shut and #bobaislyfe.

Although we take care not to expose our very old and very young, concerned that our loved ones don’t get infected, but generally, life still goes on. I dare say it: Most of us feel quite safe here in Singapore, and do not really fear dying of COVID-19.

Why? Because we actually have faith in our system, and that our healthcare system is one of the best in the world.

Unlike other countries where we read of doctors made to make triage decisions on beds, ICU care, ventilators and everything else, here the tiered medical care accorded to COVID-19 patients’ varying needs is working. Here, we take care of everyone, Singaporeans and also our foreign workers.

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This is #HOME truly leh!

And for sure, our healthcare workers deserve more recognition and appreciation. So many of them work extra hours, work extra hard during this outbreak. And many of them worry about bringing the virus back to their loved ones too.

At this juncture, it’s timely for me to share a Facebook post by the Singapore General Hospital yesterday. They talked of their mobile swab team that has performed 10,000 COVID-19 swab tests on migrant workers and essential workers in the past one month.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here’s the Facebook post,

Here’s a look at how the mobile swab team does their work.

These photos were taken yesterday morning (14 May) where more than 30 healthcare workers, supported by the Jetstar crew, swabbed 490(!) migrant workers in just 80 minutes!

That’s an impressive 6 swabs per minute, woohoo!


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Maggie O

Author Maggie O

Digital extrovert. Social introvert (warning: 93% introverted!) In the day, I work to put cai-png on the table and ice-cream in the fridge. In the night, I read a lot and write a little. Also, all views expressed in my contribution pieces here are based on my personal opinions, and they do not reflect the ideas, ideologies, or points of view of my employer (past, current and future).

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