In the past one week or so, the number of Covid19 infections in Singapore (and in many countries around the world) has increased, and there is cause for concern.
In Singapore, as at 29 March, the number of infections stand at 844, with 3 deaths. While the absolute numbers are relatively small compared to other countries, what is disconcerting is that they are escalating.
And while there are various reasons why this is so (such as more Singaporeans returning from countries which have high infection rates), one of them is how some Singaporeans are still not getting the urgent message of social distancing, and adhering to stay-home notices.
Both in mainstream media reports and in online postings, there are stories of people still gathering in groups, and of those ignoring stay-home notices and going out to socialize and even going on overseas trips to Batam, for example.
We, everyone, need to understand this simple fact: Covid19 is transmitted by us, human beings, individuals.
It is not transmitted by animals, or via airborne means, or any other ways.
We are the transmitters of the virus through physical contact with others or surfaces which have been in contact with infected persons.
It is also a fact that some of us are asymptomatic.
This means we may carry the virus without knowing it, or showing any signs of it. And because there are no signs to tell us we are infected, we may think that we are not infected, and we then live our lives as we do on normal days.
This is how we can – knowingly or not – infect others.
And here is again another fact: some of us are more vulnerable than others. The older ones among us, for example, or those who are sick, or who have serious pre-existing medical conditions, are susceptible to the virus which can be fatal.
Indeed, there are more than 700,000 people globally infected today, with the death toll standing at 34,000. Among those who have died and infected are rich and famous people, together with ordinary folk like you and I.
The entire world is gripped by the outbreak, which is now on an unprecedented scale in modern times. Whole cities are shut down, and governments have imposed strict conditions in many towns and cities.
This is a global crisis, make no mistake.
And this is why we – individuals – must do our part to help stave off the virus, to help flatten the curve, even as we try to find an anti-viral drug or a vaccine against the coronavirus.
Each of us must keep away from each other as much as possible, refrain from meeting physically in groups, abandon or avoid social gatherings, practise good personal hygiene by washing our hands often, and wearing surgical face masks if we are unwell.
This is how we can do our part to not spread the virus.
If we do not do this, the consequences will be more dire than what they are now. We in Singapore are relatively fortunate at the moment, in that we are still able to go through our daily lives mostly normally. This, in large parts, is due to the tireless work of those at the frontline holding the fort against Covid19 – our authorities, our healthcare workers, our cleaners, community leaders, teachers, and a whole lot of volunteers.
But this could change drastically if the rest of us, each of us, do not do our part.
If we, like some, think that all of this is some kind of joke, and continue to socialize and ignore the advice and pleas of the experts, officials, and government, then we are just being irresponsible, and not only to ourselves but to those closest – physically and emotionally – to us.
For it is them that we come into contact with most, at close proximity, everyday.
If we infect anyone, it will most likely be them – our families, and loved ones. And let us be clear, the result of this could be fatal. Our loved ones could suffer, and die from such infections.
This is a plea.
We, whatever our backgrounds, our social status, our political beliefs, religion, ethnicity, education level, rich or poor, male or female, young or old, we must stand together in this. And standing together means we must be mindful of what we do and not do what we should not, so that we not only protect ourselves but also those around us.
If each and everyone of us do this, we have a chance in winning the battle against this deadly virus.
Wash your hands, avoid gathering in groups, wear a surgical mask if you are unwell.
Adhere to stay-home notices and remain at home if you are served such notices.
The days ahead are challenging, but we can make them less so by doing these simple things to help.