What it means for Singapore to go into an endemic phase

About two months ago, we started hearing the term, “endemic phase”, a lot. But what exactly does that mean regarding Covid-19 and the way we live our lives?

endemic definition

The definition of “endemic”, as we can see, is that a disease is regularly found among particular people. That means that it becomes a common disease, much like the Common Flu. For Covid-19 to become endemic, it basically means that we no longer stay closed up and start to live our lives normally.

Home recovery for vaccinated individuals with no health complications

Currently, the Government has already implemented the Home Recovery scheme for fully vaccinated individuals who have tested positive. Of course, there are certain criteria for the patient to recover at home. Only those between the ages of 12-69, without health complications, will be allowed to do so. There will also be considerations made for households that have vulnerable family members, such as pregnant women, children or the elderly.

Why home recovery?

As our vaccinated population becomes more resilient towards Covid-19, they are unlikely to develop serious symptoms from it. Hence, those who only have mild symptoms and are otherwise healthy should stay home to recover, thus freeing hospital beds and medical treatment for those who truly need medical help. This ensures that our healthcare system will not become overwhelmed even IF cases were to rise further. It also prevents further spreading of Covid-19 in places like wards and hospitals.

Our healthcare workers have been working extremely hard, around the clock, daily. Even before Covid-19, they were already pulling long shifts. With Covid-19, they face additional stressors like potential exposure to the virus and having colleagues being placed on Quarantine Order, which makes the workload worse for them.

Here’s what a nurse shared on reddit about the system.

endemic healthcare workers

Life goes back to normal(ish)

When Covid-19 becomes endemic in Singapore, it means that our lives largely go back to normal. This includes both our work and personal lives. Hence, it would mean that Work From Home (WFH) can no longer be the default and social interactions will be allowed and resumed. There would also be less restrictions placed on social events like weddings or dining out in restaurants.

By opening up during the endemic phase, we allow our economy and affected industries to recover. We have already seen the impact of having restrictions placed. People’s livelihoods, such as those in F&B and retail, are affected. This helps to improve work prospects for Singaporeans whose jobs are currently affected by Covid-19.

Vaccinated travellers may be allowed in

Another step to becoming endemic would be allowing vaccinated travellers to enter. We are already seeing this via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Germany. As Covid-19 progresses to become endemic in Singapore, we are likely to extend the VTL to more countries. Again, opening up to other countries safely is needed to allow our aviation, travel and hospitality sectors to recover.

Likewise, vaccinated Singaporeans may also be allowed in certain countries if we fulfil their criteria.

Is Singapore ready yet?

Currently, it seems as if Singaporeans are not too ready to accept Covid-19 as endemic yet. Prior to the announcement of restrictions on 24 Sept, many netizens had been clamouring for a lockdown or some restrictions to be placed to control rising cases.

Here are what some netizens were saying before the Stabilisation Phase was announced:

There were parents who called for restrictions as they were concerned about the children’s wellbeing.

There were those who asked for a complete lockdown and wanted to reopen only if the cases are single digit again.

And, there were also those who understood that the spike in cases is part of Singapore’s journey to becoming “endemic”.

Stay calm and continue on

Before we get all worked up and call for lockdown unnecessarily, let’s keep calm and understand that the surge in cases are expected and part of the journey to becoming endemic. That being said, it is important for us to play our parts too, to help healthcare workers who are working hard on our behalf. Even without having restrictions or lockdowns officially placed by the Government, we can choose to exercise some restraints in our social activities and help curb the spread.

Everyone will meet the virus sooner or later but we need not fear: Ho Ching explains


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