TL;DR The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has released an unsound plan into how they plan to bring Singapore out of the COVID-19 crisis. We call BS!
We all know that the government has been trying to ease us into an endemic state when it comes to battling the COVID-19 crisis.
In a series of recent events, we have seen a rise in the daily reported COVID-19 cases, with many rumours on the ground stating that our hospitals are starting to get choked up. We’ve even had to deal with anti-vaxxers like Brad Boyer, who had to leave the Progress Singapore Party for spreading conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations. The Authorities have also been trying to push out certain guidelines for the public to adhere to in light of the rising cases, in a bid to quell any rising tensions and anxieties on the ground related to the pandemic.
In light of this, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has brought it on themselves to release a Covid-19 exit plan, which Chee Soon Juan claims (after bitching incessantly about it for the past few months), is “more surgical”.
His umpteenth bitch fit here:
The party claims that the plan was put together by the party’s healthcare panel which includes infectious disease expert Dr Paul Tambyah, who is currently serving as Chairman. We have to say, we’re a little bit disappointed by the “plan”. After all the bitching, you’d think the SDP would have a clear idea on how they can help the country navigate out of the Covid cesspool.
Here are our thoughts on the 8-part plan that the SDP has painstakingly put together.
SDP says: Stop testing asymptomatic vaccinated individuals outside of contact tracing. This will help ensure that resources are concentrated on those who need them most – the elderly and vulnerable who are actually infected.
If we stop testing asymptomatic vaccinated people.. Wouldn’t that make them spread the virus around unknowingly? This would in turn affect the elderly and the vulnerable that they come in contact with. For example, we came across an account of a baby who had to be admitted to the NICU because her sister was asymptomatic. Her sister, a PSLE student, contracted COVID-19 unknowingly and passed it to her baby sister. If we don’t keep testing perceivably healthy people, who are asymptomatic, wouldn’t this backfire and in turn affect the community thus creating huge covid clusters in Singapore?
SDP says: Ensure that those who test positive including pregnant women and children report to the nearest Public Health Preparedness Clinic (private General Practitioners or polyclinics) who can then evaluate them and decide if they need to be hospitalised or simply monitored over the week or so as we do with other infectious diseases such as urinary tract infections or food poisoning. GPs should be appropriately compensated for the care they provide.
The Taskforce has already covered this point in the countless press conferences they’ve given over the past months. Those who test positive on ART are required to go to the clinic and get themselves assessed – it doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant, old or a child. This is a matter of public preparedness and responsibility.
SDP Says: Facilitate nursing homes to keep infected patients who are stable and do not need hospitalisation in their facilities but segregate them from the rest of the residents. Have GPs check on them and decide when they need hospitalisation. This will relieve the strain on hospitals and ensure that those who need hospital care are not deprived or delayed.
The Ministry of Health has been doing all they can to ensure that our elderly’s protected from the virus. Most recently, the MOH released a 28-page advisory on Residential and Community Based Facilities, and this includes guidelines on how nursing homes should exercise caution during the stabilisation phase.
In the advisory, things like working zones, no cross-mingling amongst staff to prevent the spread of Covid are covered. For staff who are not feeling well, they are required to go home and get themselves properly treated first, before coming back to work. Regular testing is also done to ensure that COVID-19 cases are not entering the homes, so as to eliminate cases of possible exposure.
The advisory also clarifies how residents who experience fever and respiratory symptoms should be handled; with the point of isolation already being in the advisory. Those who experience Covid related symptoms will be isolated and assessed by a GP to determine its seriousness. Those visiting or working at the nursing homes should also be go home and self-isolate while waiting for the results of their swab.
Again, this has already been done by the Authorities – what value does SDP bring to this? Paul Thambyah, we thought you were an infectious disease expert? Why don’t you know of such important advisory releases before coming up with recommendations on how to combat Covid?
SDP Says: Set up a dedicated ambulance hotline similar to what was used during SARS for those who have tested positive or are identified as contacts so they can be rapidly brought to the hospital if their pulse oximeter readings show evidence of low oxygen concentrations.
We already have our healthcare workers strapped and filled to the brim. With the rising number of COVID-19 cases, this wouldn’t work. We would be placing more strain on hospital resources; hospitals are already struggling to cope with the rising cases with more hospitals converting normal wards to dedicated wards for COVID-19 serious cases. If we adopted this, our normal ambulances won’t even have the capacity to care for those who are ill (not from COVID-19 related health problems).
Thus, asymptomatic/mild symptoms for fully vaccinated patients are given Home recovery which is the default care management protocol to reduce the strain on hospital resources. The Home Recovery patients can contact their telemedicine provider if there are any worsened symptoms so as to allow them to be sent to hospital for further treatment.
SDP Says: Publish regular reports on test positivity and all clusters (like the dengue cluster reports) as in the recent decision to publish a map of emerging cases. This will help the public to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms after visiting those areas.
We have daily updates and news on where the clusters are emerging. We even have the TraceTogether app which allows users to see if the place they’ve checked into has been exposed to COVID-19 cases. MOH also recently announced they will be providing a map for Covid hotspots which will be online from 1st Oct 2021. This point in their plan is not new or revolutionary.
SDP Says: Do away with blanket closures and restrictions. Instead, implement interventions that are targeted like with food poisoning outbreaks or hand, foot and mouth disease outbreaks in childcare centres. Shut the physical building or facility where an outbreak occurs instead of across the whole island where outbreaks have not occurred.
I’m sorry… where in the recent plan has the government mentioned a shutting down, or lockdown of the entire island? Hmm, we do believe the government is already doing what the SDP proposed. Let me give you an example – remember the Bugis Junction case? Jem? Or the various hawker centres that were closed when covid clusters were found? Did we shut the whole island down where outbreaks have not occurred? NO.
SDP is just repeating what the government is doing. Nuff’ said.
SDP Says: Intensify molecular epidemiology (genetic fingerprinting) process. Every public hospital and referral lab must perform this for every positive case and the information should be fed into a database modelled on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) GISAID and the information therein made publicly available. This will make the identification of large clusters reliable.
Here is an example of an infographic of the clusters, and a breakdown by cases: https://infographics.channelnewsasia.com/covid-19/coronavirus-singapore-clusters.html
This has already been done. Where is the revolutionary solution to this part?
SDP Says: Conduct rapid adaptive design randomized clinical trials on all WHO-approved vaccines so they can be brought in for the trials and studied as boosters or primary doses. These vaccines should be commissioned and funded rapidly. The same should be done for other preventative agents which have shown promise in earlier randomized trials such as povidone iodine or ivermectin. This will settle once and for all in a clear scientific manner many of the questions swirling around social media on alternatives to the current vaccination strategies.
Our authorities are already committing to a robust system in testing the safety of vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Health Science Authority of Singapore (HSA), has already been monitoring the effects of vaccines on individuals. Before commissioning for a vaccine to be used on the entire Singaporean population, the medicines regulators within the Access Consortium will only authorise vaccines if their benefits outweigh the risks, based on the required high level of evidence provided by sponsors.
You can read their full statement here: https://www.hsa.gov.sg/therapeutic-products/international-collaboration/access/statement-on-covid-19-vaccines-evidence
So… their grand announcement and reveal of their COVID-19 plan has been, well.. Underwhelming.
It is nothing but a regurgitation of whatever the Authorities have been doing to ensure that we can ride out the pandemic safely in one piece (for most of us).
After months of bitching and lamenting on social media about how the restrictions have posed nothing but an inconvenience for all of us, we were truly expecting more.
SDP is a disappointment. Serve us something. Don’t just bitch.