May 1, 2009
Orange alert in S'pore
Measures to fight swine flu shift into higher gear; One-week quarantine for those who return from Mexico
By Bertha Henson
EXPECT to have your temperature taken when you attend big events, and to be asked for your contact details when you enter office buildings.
Such procedures at schools, workplaces and hospitals will start now, as Singapore moves into 'orange' mode in its five-colour alert system, which progresses from green through yellow, orange, red and black.
It might well move to red soon, said Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Thursday, as he detailed more stringent measures to combat swine flu.
..... As for those contemplating a trip to Mexico, the epicentre of the swine flu outbreak, and affected areas in the United States such as New York, California, Texas and Kansas, the plea from Mr Khaw is: Don't.
So far, Singapore has been lucky not to have been invaded by the virus, he said, 'but I think it will not be long before patients or even deaths start to occur here'.
'In South-east Asia, we are the most globalised country, so the first cluster of cases in South-east Asia may very well emerge in Singapore.'
The problem isn't merely that we are the most globalised country in Southeast Asia. The problem is also that Singapore is the second-most crowded country in the world.
And why is Singapore the 2nd most crowded country in the world? It's mostly because of the government's hare-brained plan to deliberately bump our population up to 6.5 million (by inducing a huge influx of foreigners onto our little island).
Such a plan has numerous implications. One implication is the greatly increased risk to the health of the general public. Here's an excerpt from one of my own posts, which I had written more than a year ago:
Unfortunately we are led by buffoons. They actually seem to believe that 6.5 million is some kind of magical number, at which Singapore's population will thrive, and below which we are doomed to failure.
Incidentally, I've often wondered whether the government has really considered the potential health implications of its ambitious population plan. I'm referring to the government's plan to increase Singapore's resident population to 6.5 million people (mainly by importing more foreigners).
There are plenty of reasons why we should be cautious about such a plan. One reason is that we live in a time where mankind seems to be constantly threatened by the likes of SARS and bird flu.
Squeeze 6.5 million people together on a little red dot. Make it the world's most densely populated country. Every day, pack a great number of citizens like sardines into the public transport system. What do you get?
Potentially, a great recipe for a massive epidemic .....
This, of course, is pure nonsense. Economic success is far too complex to be reducible to a single figure, and depends instead on a wide range of other variables.
It is interesting to recall that Singapore's best economic years (when we were regularly achieving double-digit annual economic growth) all happened in those times when our population was just around 2.5 million. In other words, about half of what it is today.