In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns are key to controlling the virus’ spread. What they are not good for, however, is the economy.
While the entire world seems to be going on lockdown, one city is staying clear of that course of action and maintaining its economy. Singapore has adopted social distancing measures that so far have kept the virus’s spread under control without requiring the closing of all its businesses, as reported by the Nikkei Asian Review.
In addition to tight border controls and tracing of COVID-19 patients, Singapore has implemented a social distancing plan that is nothing short of impressive. Using markings for alternate seating in food courts and lines spaced about 1 meter apart at ticketing stations and supermarket checkout counters, the country is giving clear guidelines on how people should behave in public to avoid the virus’ spread.
That’s not the only measure implemented. Restaurants need to keep diners at only 10 people at most and offices need to keep interaction at a minimum through the use of teleconferencing and staggered hours. The government has decreed that no place should have “more than one person per 16 sq. meters of usable space,” Lawrence Wong, the national development minister, told reporters on March 20.
Eugene Tan, an associate professor of law at Singapore Management University, told Nikkei Asian Review that there may be more benefits to the measures than just keeping the population healthy.
“During these challenging times, keeping as close to the routine [as possible] can be psychologically comforting as well,” he said. “This social resilience will be helpful, as the pandemic will be long-drawn, trying and confidence-sapping.”
Although, it is refreshing to see that one place that has not succumbed to a complete lockdown it should be noted that as of late Singapore’s coronavirus cases have been on the rise. How long will the country be able to avoid a lockdown? Only time will tell.