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Singapore’s management of COVID-19


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Thu, 12 Mar. 2020

    Singapore High Commission

Singapore is prepared to handle COVID-19

Singapore is a major international air hub with high travel volume. Singapore always faces the risk of the importation of diseases, and thus, have invested heavily in pandemic preparedness and response over the years.

  • Expanded and upgraded medical facilities, including the new National Centre for Infectious Diseases
  • More well-trained doctors and nurses
  • More advanced research and diagnostic capabilities to study virus, and come up with better treatment, detection and prevention options
  • Crisis management plan refined over the years, taking into account experience in various outbreaks (e.g. SARS, H1N1).

A coordinated whole of government approach

Singapore’s fight against COVID-19 is a national effort, coordinated by a Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19. The MTF was set up on 22 January 2020, prior to the discovery of the first confirmed case of infection.

  • Co-chaired by Minister for Health and Minister for National Development
  • Ministerial representation from sectors such as manpower, education, transport, communications, and environment
  • The taskforce was set up to:
    • Direct the national whole-of-government response to the outbreak;
    • Coordinate community response to protect Singaporeans and stay vigilant against the spread of disease; and
    • Work with the international community to respond to the outbreak.

A suite of pre-emptive measures to protect the health and well-being of all in Singapore

Singapore has in place pre-emptive measures which aims to minimise the risk of imported cases, detect cases early, and minimise the chance of the virus spreading within Singapore. A comprehensive suite of measures can be seen in the link below.

  • The measures implemented are based on evidence and calibrated according to their risk assessment
  • Singapore’s priority is to detect every possible case early, contact trace, and contain further spread. Enhanced surveillance is a necessity to contain the virus.
    • Expanded version of WHO’s recommended suspect case definition
    • Conducting surveillance for COVID-19 on all patients with pneumonia at public hospitals and on individuals in the community with influenza-like illness (ILI)
    • No cases detected through ILI surveillance provides confidence that there is no widespread community transmission
  • Singapore continues to conduct ring-fencing of the virus to prevent further transmission:
    • Isolation and treatment of confirmed cases at state-of-the-art medical facilities
    • Contact tracing immediately conducted to identify close contacts of the confirmed cases
    • Close contacts are quarantined and closely monitored for symptoms: early treatment and prevents onward transmission
    • Rigorous epidemiological investigations conducted to establish chain of infection

Singapore as a Responsible Global Citizen

  • The Singapore Government adopts a transparent, rational approach in managing outbreaks. They share information in a timely and transparent manner with both domestic and international stakeholders.
  • The WHO is “very impressed” with Singapore’s efforts to find every case, follow up with contacts and stop transmission. Harvard University has acknowledged Singapore’s capabilities as the “gold standard” for case detection.
  • COVID-19 is a global issue, because we live in a highly inter-connected world and infectious diseases do not respect borders. Every country remains vulnerable to epidemics and emergencies, regardless of the maturity of their health systems.
  • Singapore is committed to doing its part as a member of the global community, working in close partnership with the WHO, international health authorities and foreign counterparts.


The international situation is still uncertain, with multiple outbreaks in several countries. Singapore remains vigilant and is monitoring the rapidly evolving situation to prepare for potential new waves of infection.

 Singapore remains open for business, even as it takes additional precautions and makes necessary adjustments for the greater good of public health.


See also: Travelling to/from Singapore – An update from the Singapore High Commission in London

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Summary of Singapore Precautionary Health Measures

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