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Singapore: Flexibility, agility, adaptability – these are the buzzwords you would expect to hear in corporate boardrooms and not in public health. White Paper on Singapore’s Management of the COVID-19 Pandemicwill be released on March 8 and will be debated in Congress next week.

But why was flexibility, agility and adaptability so integral to the outcome of Singapore’s COVID-19? What should I do?

We learned from SARS 20 years ago and will continue to learn from COVID-19, but pandemics are complex, evolving situations in which people act with uncertainty.

Public health is notoriously a fickle field. Deciding how much to stick with or how much to migrate to old proven methods is not easy. adapt to new informationMaking decisions too late or without the right information can lead to undesirable consequences.

An example highlighted in the white paper on what could have been done better in Singapore was the management of outbreaks in migrant worker dormitories. Following the 2003 SARS epidemic, authorities used protocols to implement similar containment procedures.

However, it was soon discovered that the virus could be an asymptomatic infection. As a result, mass infections occurred in various dormitories, and the infection spread due to factors such as the narrow living environment at the time and the limited testing capacity. Although the outbreak was eventually contained, it demonstrates the kinds of difficult decisions public health officials must navigate during uncertain times when information is limited. Commentary: The lesson of Singapore’s pandemic is also knowing when to move away from old strategies

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