Before COVID-19 even hit our shores back in March, the Prime Minister announced that the Government’s response to the virus would be firm and decisive. This was based on his observation that countries which imposed stringent lockdown measures early in the spread of the virus saw some of the best results in containing and managing it. So it was no surprise that when the virus eventually reached our shores and despite the minimal number of cases and deaths reported at the time, the Government quickly moved to contain its spread among the population by closing our international borders and imposing stay at home measures, noting its necessity in order “to protect life and livelihood”.
Certainly, it was this firm and decisive action on the part of the Government, coupled with the strict compliance of the population that saw the flattening of the curve and virtual vanquishing of the virus from our shores, with the exception of the one or two imported cases from returning nationals which were quickly contained, leading to our regional and international acclaim (ranking No 1 in the world) for the handling of the virus.
This of course was no small feat: the country punching way above its weight in the international arena, to beat out bigger and much more developed ones, such as the USA, UK and Canada. It is something for which I am sure we all felt immensely proud and sincerely congratulated the Government and all health professionals.
So what happened? How did we fail? If we were able to successfully banish the virus in the first wave, I might add without any mandatory facemask laws, then how did it breach our defences and re-enter the population? Did it enter through our porous borders via illegal immigrants or was it somehow allowed to slip through the cracks via returning nationals? Was it simply lying dormant in some persons, only to be freed during the “election palance” or was it all a farce?
Whatever the reason, these are the hard question that must be answered by the Government and health professionals, if they are to truly regain, control of the virus and the trust and confidence of the population.