SINGAPORE – People were out and about at malls and parks during the public holiday on Monday (July 11), with many saying they were not afraid of catching Covid-19 despite the new wave of cases in Singapore recently.
Some of those interviewed said that since they had already been infected with the coronavirus before, their immune system would be better able to fight off a Covid-19 infection.
Others said that they were fully vaccinated and were taking precautions to avoid getting infected, by spending time outdoors, for example.
When The Straits Times visited East Coast Park at around 2pm on Monday, families were stretched out on picnic mats on the lawns there.
Cycling paths were also crowded with cyclists and in-line skaters.
Logistics coordinator Anggun Irdina, 24, was one of the picnickers at the park. She said the recent spike in Covid-19 numbers, while concerning, did not really affect her decision to spend her holiday in an outdoor location because she had already contracted Covid-19 before.
Ms Anggun, who was there with her parents and a nine-month-old baby girl she was babysitting, said: “My parents and I have caught Covid-19 at least once before and our symptoms were similar to having a normal flu.
“Because of this, getting Covid-19 again is not so frightening anymore.”
Of the child that was with her, Ms Anggun said the girl’s parents had also been infected before, but that she was fine.
Ms Anggun added: “Her immune system is strong and we’re in an outdoor place, so we figured that it would be safe.”
She added that their family members also avoided high-risk activities, like going clubbing, or going maskless while exercising indoors.
Singapore has been experiencing a spike in Covid-19 cases, with numbers soaring to as high as 11,504 cases on June 29.
In Parliament last week, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Singapore is near, if not already at, the peak of the current wave of Covid-19 infections.
The recent surge in infections has been mainly driven by the newer Omicron subvariants known as BA.4 and BA.5.
But the surge is on the downward trend, with a total of 4,495 cases reported on Monday, two weeks after the peak on June 29.
The week-on-week infection ratio also fell to 1.05 from the peak of 1.65 on June 29.
But wedding planner Helen Lie, 39, who was at East Coast Park picnicking with her husband and two children from 12pm, said that she was not alarmed by the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases .
Ms Lie, whose family is fully vaccinated, said: “We’re not taking any more precautions other than those set out by the Government, and we believe that these measures are enough to keep us safe.”
While outdoor spaces may present a lower transmission risk than indoor spaces, Ms Li said she would also not stop herself from going to a mall if she had to.
She added: “Getting Covid-19 is normal now since it’s endemic. So many people around us have previously contracted Covid-19 that it’s really no big deal wherever we go.”
As a result, she added that it would be best if Covid-19 restrictions remained as they are currently, even if cases continue to rise.
“It is more harmful for restrictions to flip-flop between different levels of severity in response to the virus situation than for us to live with it.”
The two malls ST visited at around 3pm were also crowded.
All ten retailers approached by ST at i12 Katong mall and Paya Lebar Quarter said there were more visitors in the mall compared with regular weekdays.
Civil servant Elvin Loh, 32, who was in Paya Lebar Quarter to shop with his wife and nine-month-old son, said that it would be futile to avoid public spaces even with the spike.
Mr Loh, whose family had contracted Covid-19 before, said: “The Government has done quite a good job to buff up Covid-19 measures, but even a small leak of Covid-19 could have big impacts.”
He added: “No matter how well we do, we will definitely have Covid-19 spikes. All I can do is focus on doing my part to follow the measures.”
However, nursing homes have observed a mixed response from visitors to the Covid-19 surge.
Starting last Thursday (July 7), the Ministry of Health (MOH) put a cap on the visitation numbers at all hospital wards and residential care homes due to the surge in Covid-19 cases .
Under the curbs, all regular patients are allowed two pre-designated visitors for the duration of their admission, and only one visitor at the bedside at any one time.
Critically ill patients are allowed up to five pre-designated visitors, and two visitors at the bedside at any one time.
This new measure was to protect healthcare workers and the vulnerable as the number of Covid-19 cases rise in Singapore.
Singapore Christian Home, a nursing home in Sembawang, said that they experienced no change in the number of visitors after the curb was instituted.
On the other hand, Peacehaven Nursing Home reported that they saw about half as many visitors this weekend as compared with the previous weekend.