This is the reason why Singapore did not put travel bans too early
Whilst other countries placed travel restrictions out of popular opinion, Singapore made its decisions in a rational manner and it had paid off.
Four countries are taking travel advisories to its citizens after Singapore raised its alert status to orange last week.
Qatar has advised its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Singapore.
Kuwait has a similar warning and urged its citizens who are in Singapore to leave immediately.
Israel’s Health Ministry also widened its travel warning on Sunday to additional Asian destinations, including Singapore. It advised the public to consider whether travel to these places was necessary.
Sarawak said residents who had been to Singapore would have to undergo 14 days of self quarantine.
It is good to note that these are merely travel advisories and not restrictions or outright ban from entry into their countries.
It is for this reason that Singapore was very careful in implementing a ban on other countries in the first place. Many countries have put in these bans, restrictions and closures due to political pressure by either an alarmed population or an aggressive opposition.
Singapore never based their decision this way. The first question to answer was this: would a ban prevent the disease from entering our shores? There is extensive medical consensus that it does not and worse, it prevents helpful exchange that would have led to better understanding of the virus.
Based on that, we did the logical thing and restricted entry into Singapore by persons whom may have been infected because they had come from an area that had extremely high rate of infections.
If we had put in bans and border closures too early, we would have been done for. Other countries would not think twice about closing their borders with us and we would have been isolated in. Remember, we are a trade dependant country that depends extensively on other countries for a lot of goods: especially food. The false panic that we had slipped into could very well turn into a real one.
Singapore relies on trade, exchange and networks to survive. We do not produce anything and we are heavily reliant on others, just to survive. If you hear of people criticising Singapore for “not having shut our borders earlier”, please remind them how small we are and how border closures would have been self-suffocating.