Singaporeans can anticipate the country to make a transition into phase three reopening in a cautious and calibrated manner, similar to the way restrictions are eased up in the various stages of the current phase two. Experts see the hazy boundaries between two phases as a great approach.
The Nanyang Technological University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine’s Centre for Population Health Sciences’ Director, Associate Professor Josip Car, stated that the ambiguous difference demonstrates practical policymaking in action, as people are more likely to accept changes when they are introduced gradually. The gradual changes also make sure the community remains calm and understand the measures better. Here is what you need to know about the Phase 3 reopening of Singapore for businesses.
What phase three entails
With more restrictions’ easing over the past few weeks, including the lifting of border restrictions to travellers from Vietnam and Australia (except Victoria State) and the doubling of the number of guests at weddings, many Singaporeans have wondered whether the country has unofficially transitioned to phase three. However, experts cautioned that it would be foolish to give every incremental change a definitive name, stating that the society cannot anticipate being back to normal completely until mass vaccination starts.
Instead, they are calling the general overall phases as one, two, and three. Cautious relaxation is critical as nations which have rushed into reopening are entering the second waves, and either beginning to implement localised lockdowns like Britain and Spain, or complete national lockdowns, such as Israel.
Moreover, tempering to public anticipations, experts assert that Singaporeans should not expect a considerable relaxing of measures during phase three, and expect the whole suite of operations which were barred previously to return. Rather, this phase entails a state wherein the country still carries out a certain degree of precaution to enable social and economic activities to go on.
Nevertheless, Singaporeans should always consider the effect of a possible super-spreader case and whether the permitted activities will significantly escalate the spread. Still, experts remain optimistic about travel and agree for unrestricted travel to resume, particularly to locations where the pandemic situation is quite similar to or much better than Singapore’s, such as Brunei and Taiwan.
As more businesses in Singapore adapt and produce new operating methods, employees embrace new working modes, research enhanced and new technologies evolve to deter, detect, identify and treat the virus, the society would then understand what their new normal or phase three would look like.
Businesses May Not See a Big Jump In Phase 3
While phase three seems promising, economists and business owners remain cautious about the economic assurance of Singapore’s third and final reopening amid the pandemic, considering the global uncertainty and the non-uniform nature of any recovery.
In fact, the Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Business Federation, Ho Meng Kit, stated that businesses generally recognised the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be a long-drawn-out battle, unlike previous crises. Businesses expect demand to remain vapid for some time, considering the breadth and depth of the pandemic’s unprecedented impact.
Nevertheless, businesses in Singapore have to remain agile and resilient, as well as be able to adapt and transform, depending on the economic threats and available knowledge at the time.
While the Singapore government is working on a strategy towards phase 3, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong stated that the city-state would remain in Disease Outbreak Response System Condition Orange, or DORSCON Orange, for the time being. Nonetheless, the current regulations are much more nuanced, with various activities for different risk levels.
Accordingly, the DORSCON level is not just dictated by the number of cases alone. Singaporeans have to be mindful that although the number of cases in the country is low, the cases around it and other parts of the globe are still increasing. Hence, they cannot let their guard down, and the government will continue to maintain the DORSCON Orange until it is certain that the situation worldwide is under control.
Nevertheless, the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health’s Dean, Professor Teo Yik Ying, stated that the DORSCON framework might have to be reevaluated and updated after the pandemic has receded since there seems to be a discord between the DORSCON frameworks’ proposed risks and responses and what truly happened.
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