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The fight against Coronavirus in Singapore: the importance of preparations and rapidity

Singapore is among the countries that have contained the spread of Covid-19 better than others

The Covid-19 pandemic poses a major challenge for all countries around the world, and has put enormous pressure on the health and organisational systems of even the most developed Western and Asian economies. While maintaining certain standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic vary widely from country to country, as do prevention initiatives to avoid or mitigate the effects of new waves of the pandemic. Some of the countries that have best responded to the coronavirus pandemic are Vietnam, Taiwan, Iceland, New Zealand and Singapore, all of which launched rapid emergency plans and effective containment and tracking protocols that rely on new technologies.

In Singapore, rapid preparations, aggressive testing, contact tracing and a series of other favourable circumstances have helped limit the impact of Covid-19. The relatively small population of the city-state (5.7 million people) and the experience gained from SARS in 2003 have once again contributed to curbing the coronavirus pandemic. Imitating procedures implemented by other Asian countries, Singapore also strengthened border controls shortly after the first cases emerged in China, and provided a clear strategy of communication to the public. Unlike Vietnam and Taiwan, Singapore, due to its high population density especially in the poorest areas, recorded a high number of cases compared to the population (over 58,000 as of the 24th of November 2020). Several observers have noted that a high number of coronavirus cases (90 percent) were concentrated in the areas of the city-state inhabited by low-income foreign workers where the population density is higher, making containment measures implemented by authorities effective in reducing the mortality rate which stands at 28 deaths as of the 24th of November 2020. The average age of the population also helped keep the mortality rate low, considering that the majority of cases recorded outside the main clusters were among young people.

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