Life, as we know it, may never be the same again. As shared by PM Lee in his address on 31 May, Singapore should be prepared to live with COVID-19, as part of our new normal. It is unlikely that COVID-19 goes away entirely. Instead, we may need to brace ourselves for a life alongside COVID-19, for when the disease turns from pandemic to endemic.
COVID-19 has changed the way we work, live and play. What does this new normal look like, and how will this change the way we socialise? Here’s what the new normal may look like in our daily lives, as we move into Year 2 with COVID-19.
Will we need to take booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine, just like what we do for the flu, every year?
That may be a distinct possibility, as research is still on-going on how long the protection given by vaccines will last. Vaccination is key to containing the pandemic by building herd immunity in the community, as well as reducing the effects of the virus, even if you do contract it.
As such, it’s important that we sign up for our vaccination slot, once we are eligible. After all, the vaccine has verified and tested to be safe, and the side effects are not anything to worry about.
Increased Testing Methods & More Frequent Testing
Another pillar of Singapore’s approach is to have widespread testing.
Instead of relying on PCR swab tests alone, the Government will be introducing more testing methods in the market. This includes a DIY test kit, which you can buy over the counter at pharmacies. Self-administered tests will be useful for individuals, such as front-line workers, who want to be sure of their health.
Routine testing will be rolled out at more venues in work, social or community settings. For example, the Antigen Rapid Test is used for pre-event testing to quickly pick out potential positive cases before an event. This paves the way for organising mass events again, as we can have greater confidence in ensuring the safety of participants.
Socialising & Travelling
Eventually, we may be able to go socialise in larger groups — and even, go outdoors without our masks. This may be dependent on the vaccination rate in Singapore, along with the community case numbers stabilising.
With preventive measures in place, we may even see our borders re-opening in the future. There had been previous discussions around a vaccine passport. While plans are still ambiguous, we’re excited for the possibility of travel again!
Work & Study
For most of us, the greatest change has been Work From Home arrangements. It has been almost more than a year since WFH started. Despite earlier reservations, acceptance for WFH has grown amongst companies and employees. Future work arrangements could be a hybrid of WFH and physical workspaces.
Schools had a difficult time last year, when Home Based Learning was first announced. However, now that infrastructure and lesson plans are more firmly established, HBL could become a permanent tool in a school’s arsenal to engage their students. Currently, schools have shifted to HBL due to the rise in community cases. It could be possible that schools may shift between physical classes and HBL, depending on the COVID situation.
Telehealth & Home-Based Health Services
During Circuit Breaker, many of us were afraid of visiting the doctor. However, for some conditions, it’s harmful to delay your doctor consultation. This is particularly so for those with chronic diseases, and need to refill their medication prescriptions. Telehealth and video consultations are a good solution to this. For example, Doctor Anywhere offers 24/7 consultations for our users, as well as medication delivery within three hours.
Over the pandemic, there has been a rise in acceptance and usage of telehealth services. As trust in telehealth grows, more Singaporeans may opt to video call their doctors, rather than physically visit a clinic.
Since most of us are trying to stay at home as far as possible, there could also be greater interest in mobile medical teams. These teams can perform health screenings, including blood tests and vaccinations at your home. The best part of home-based health screenings? Not having to travel to the clinic while you are hungry after the mandatory 10-hour fast. Book a home-based health screening or vaccination package with Doctor Anywhere!
If you’re feeling unwell, see a doctor online anytime, 24/7, on the DA app. Medication delivery in three hours.