Timeline: Singapore tackles Wuhan situation with military precision

If there’s one thing you cannot deny Singapore of, is its speed and efficiency in crisis management. It is a clear track record – even in the event of any international disaster, the SAF is ready to deploy at a moments notice.

Even before the first sneeze took place on our shores, the country already had screening equipment and manpower deployed to detect an enemy that is only 20 nanometers large.

It all started here:

31st December 2019: Chinese authorities inform WHO of a series of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan, linked to a seafood wholesale market. 

Immediately after, the government deployed the first set of precautionary measures.

2nd Jan: MOH announces first set of precautionary measures. Temperature screening measures at Changi Airport for all entering Singapore from Wuhan.

Nothing much in the news until…

13th Jan : First imported case outside of China reported in Thailand. 

This is when discussion started taking root in Singapore.

And then, China makes its first announcement… and the world starts to freak out.

20th Jan: China announces first human-to-human transmission

On the same day, MOH expands temperature screening to all passengers arriving on flights from China from 22 Jan 2020 onwards. Individuals with pneumonia and travel history to Wuhan within 14 days before onset of symptoms will also be isolated in the hospital, as a precautionary measure.

Singapore then swung into action.

22nd Jan: Task force convened and multi-pronged action plan rolled out. Gan Kim Yong says that it will be inevitable that the virus would turn up in Singapore.

23rd Jan: China moves to lock down Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou

Manila announces halting flights from Wuhan, after China announced the lockdown

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health announced public advisory. Communications across the country goes into overdrive. 

At this point, we learn that the virus has landed on our shores.

23rd and 24th Jan: 3 confirmed cases from persons from Wuhan

24th Jan: ECDA issues advisories to preschools and parents. Preschools to obtain travel declarations from all children and staff in centre.

25th Jan:  MFA contacts Singaporeans in Wuhan . Meanwhile, Malaysia reports first 3 cases

  In Hong Kong, first communications made, declares state of emergency (quite likely also to discourage protests)

25th Jan: Chinese New Year

It is only at this point, that the international community starts to scramble to action. 

27th Jan: Malaysia “bars” Chinese travellers from Wuhan city and Hubei province

  Macau denies entry to visitors from Hubei unless “proven they are not infected” https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/wuhan-virus-macau-deny-entry-hubei-visitors-china-hong-kong-12358010 

Cambodia confirms its first case

Indonesia reluctant to take further action, claiming there is “no urgency” to do so

In Singapore, the following have taken place :

  • Brings back Singaporean residents from Hangzhou on a Scoot relief flight
  • MOH’s advisory for Healthcare sector
  • MOH’s health advisory for persons placed on Leave of Absence
  • ECDA’s advisory on new precautionary measures and Leave of Absence for Preschool staff and children returning from China
  • MOE’s advisory on stepping up precautionary measures  Leave of Absence for students and staff returning from Mainland China
  • MOM’s advisory on new precautionary measures for employers and employers traveling to and from Mainland China and known affected countries
  • Screening of ALL passengers entering Changi
  • Chinese nationals with passports issued in Hubei directed to health screening stations for evaluation
  • Step up of precautionary measures at pre-schools. Leave of Absence of 14 days issued to staff and preschoolers returning from China
  • MOM issued advisory, which includes advice for employers to obtain a health and travel declaration from their employees on whether they have travelled to China recently
  • MFA issues travel advisory against non-essential travel to Mainland China

As if things weren’t busy enough, the government had to work fighting the rumours and fake news :

24th Jan: MOH issues clarification about WhatsApp message asking public not to visit certain public hospitals

25th Jan: MOH issues clarification that there have been no deaths among suspect or confirmed cases to date (arose from a FB post by one MaseyDazie SugarBomb Perfumes SG)

25th Jan: ICA issues clarification about rumour that more than 100 travelers from Wuhan were denied entry to Singapore

27th Jan: MOH issues clarification on Facebook about medical workers in protective gear attending to an individual at Compass One. The individual is not linked to the Wuhan coronavirus.

So the next time someone asks you “eh, what the gahmen do during this crisis ah”? Send them this timeline. Say what you want, but we are a country that takes no chances and we are all trained to be extremely prepared. 

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