The Covid19 pandemic resulted in countless number of infections and death. To tackle this global outbreak, healthcare systems and their resources have been drastically challenged and strained to take care of the sick and contain the surge of cases.
The infectious nature of the coronavirus makes it difficult for the virus to be contained. The virus is spreading faster than the identification of infected patients and researching of suitable treatments and vaccines. This is because COVID19 is more infectious and deadly than MERS and SARS. This can also be attributed to globalization. The interconnectivity of the world through various modes of transport like domestic and international flights enables the virus to spread locally and globally rapidly. On 5 January 2020, the World Health Organisation published the first news of the outbreak and at the end of the same month, COVID-19 was classified as a public health emergency of international concern. Thus, the infectious nature of the coronavirus coupled with globalisation resulted in health authorities being unable to prevent its escalation to a pandemic issue.
With a vaccine yet to be invented, there has been fervent discussion of what the post-COVID situation, which many note as the ‘new normal’, be like. All of us can expect new and permanent health protocols for schools, workplaces and other daily activities. In Singapore, the Safe Management Measures are introduced as health authorities announced the gradual easing of the “Circuit Breaker”. In Indonesia, the Health Ministry issued new health protocols for workplaces where company management have to create task forces to maintain hygiene standards at workplaces. These health protocols include the frequent wearing of face masks, higher standards of cleanliness and hygiene in buildings and increase in the number of hand-washing facilities. Although these stringent health protocols are unfamiliar to society, these protocols will become normalised and a part of everyone’s daily lives. Thus, citizens have to understand that the health protocols are implemented to protect the health of the citizens and minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission in society.
The way healthcare is administered has changed greatly amidst the global pandemic and will continue to change post-Covid. The pandemic has certainly been pushing the limits of the healthcare systems in many countries as many facilities and medical resources are required. To resolve the problem of lack of medical facilities, places such as cruise ships and hotels were transformed into temporary healthcare facilities to house the recovering patients. In Singapore, foreign workers who have recovered from COVID19 were transferred to cruise ships such as SuperStar Gemini. Similarly, a community isolation facility was set up at the Singapore Expo to house recovering patients and “early patients”. Coming up with these innovative solutions in a short period of time is not an easy feat and the ability to do so will also depend on the country’s available resources. Unfortunately in countries like Italy, the hospitals face a shortage of beds and the government is struggling to cope with the increased demand for healthcare. Medical institutions are also coming up with new and more efficient ways to test for the virus. Therefore, many governments are trying their best to ensure sufficient supply of healthcare services and facilities in anticipation of a rise in infections while at the same time containing the outbreak.
In conclusion, the pandemic has resulted in increased vulnerability to the health of many in society. To prevent a resurgence of cases and to protect the citizens, healthcare systems have been pushed hard to ensure that their healthcare facilities, supplies and treatments are of a high standard to effectively tackle the pandemic.
By Simon Ng