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Coronavirus vs Singapore – a Digital Nomad’s perspective

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For over 3 weeks I travelled through Asia and several other European countries. I was surprised that no coronavirus-related controls were carried out in countries such as Sweden, Germany or my native Poland. As one of the few people that wore a mask, I seemed t astonish people at the airports. The situation was completely different in Singapore.

We hear a lot about the dangers and prevention of coronavirus in the media. States are racing in the fight against the epidemic. I recently returned from Singapore, which is also struggling with the coronavirus. So how is one of the most technologically developed countries in the world coping the virus?

Singapore Coronavirus Prevention Response

Singapore has surprised me positively in terms of preventing the spread of coronavirus.

The airport was equipped with technology to detect the first signs of coronavirus. Cameras and monitors measuring body temperature were literally at every turn.

In addition, antibacterial gels appeared everywhere. You could use them at the airport, in restaurants, hotels, shopping centers or at tourist attractions.

All people working in public places (much more exposed to the virus) wore face masks, including taxi and bus drivers. Residents whom I had the opportunity to talk with said that they felt safe, primarily because they are aware that the state cares about them.

In Italy and Poland, we hear about missing products in stores. How did Singapore deal with this problem? Already at the beginning of February, the largest supermarket chain in Singapore, FairPrice, introduced restrictions on the number of products purchased for its customers.

Buyers could get, for example, a maximum of four packages of ‘paper products’, two bags of rice or four packages of instant noodles. A cash limit of $50 SGD ($36 USD) was also introduced for vegetable purchases. In a statement, the network wrote that it made such a decision because it wants to provide consumers with access to goods for which demand has increased rapidly in recent days.

Not surprisingly, in a global race to stop the coronavirus epidemic, Singapore was recognized by WHO as a role model in the fight against coronavirus.

Work in Singapore and The Coronavirus

In February, the Singaporean government introduced restrictions that caused changes in the organization of work in many corporations.

Programming teams have been divided into two groups that take turns working from home – said one Singapore programmer.

Authorities also asked employers to take other precautions, such as frequent cleaning of shared spaces and monitoring of body temperature of employees.

Many companies also canceled business trips to other parts of Asia. In addition, all employees who were in China, for example, had to quarantine and work from home for at least 14 days. At the entrances to each of the office buildings in the Singaporian financial district you could meet a person measuring the temperature or notice thermal imaging scanners.

Has coronavirus affected Singapore economically?

Like any other country, Singapore also feels coronavirus in the economy. The city-state has become empty, a bit like in apocalyptic films.

A plus for tourists was the lack of queues for attractions on Sentosa Island, where you usually wait over an hour. The situation was similar in Universal Studio and Gardens by the Bay.

A Deserted Beach on Sentosa Island

Singapore made a huge impression on me, both in terms of tourism and preparation for the fight against coronavirus.

Residents are kept informed about coronavirus activities and their self-learning is monitored. Singaporeans feel safe and have confidence in the government, which has consistently prevailed since the signature of Singapore’s independence agreement in 1965.

By Marcin Greń, Digital Nomad