Agency: Vaccines were supposed to be the city-state’s ticket back to normalcy. But even with an 83 percent vaccination rate, Singapore is not opening up.
Instead, the government reinstated restrictions and urged people to work from home. For many residents, there was a feeling of whiplash and nagging questions about what it would take to reopen if vaccines were not enough.
But even though nearly all infections, 98.4 percent, present mild or no symptoms, the country is unaccustomed to large outbreaks. It’s a sobering case study for nations like New Zealand and Australia that are trying to transition from a zero-Covid strategy.
Background: Singapore’s initial handling of the coronavirus was widely considered a success. It closed its borders, tested and traced aggressively and was one of the first countries in Asia to order vaccines.
What’s next: One vision of how the pandemic might play out in Singapore includes face masks, limited travel and social distancing, perhaps until 2024.
Quotable: “In a way, we are a victim of our own success, because we’ve achieved as close to zero Covid as we can get and a very, very low death rate,” said an infectious disease specialist. “So we want to keep the position at the top of the class, and it’s very hard to do.”