UK and the Singaporeare both planning to live with Covid. They are worlds apart on how to do that

(CNN)More than a year and a half into the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s rich nations are beginning to accept that Covid-19 is not going away — despite high vaccination rates drastically cutting the number of hospitalizations and deaths.

But while they may agree that the virus is here to stay, in some form, for the foreseeable future, these countries have radically different approaches to dealing with it.


   Singapore, an island state of 5.69 million, and the UK, home to an estimated 66 million people, have had very different pandemic experiences — and outcomes — so far.Singapore wants to stop counting Covid cases. Its roadmap could be a model for other countries REALEASE
By contrast, Singapore was quick to shut its borders, implemented a comprehensive contact tracing and testing program, and imposed quarantine requirements early on.
Now the two countries are charting different paths out of the pandemic; their plans are likely to be seen as test cases for other nations as they ramp up their vaccination programs.
The roadmaps
In June, Singaporean lawmakers unveiled the country’s roadmap to a “new normal” in a letter published in the Straits Times, outlining a radical departure from Singapore’s previous “zero transmission” model.
So-called “zero-Covid” approaches have been adopted by several countries and territories across the Asia-Pacific region.
Countries like Singapore are preparing to "live with Covid."
Countries like Singapore are preparing to “live with Covid.”
Eventually, they hope, Covid-19 will be treated as a less severe disease, like influenza or chicken pox. RELEASE
Weeks later, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a similar note, predicting that Covid-19 would “become a virus that we learn to live with as we already do with flu.” Johnson announced plans to lift almost all coronavirus restrictions, including the mask mandate and social distancing rules, in England on July 19.
He said the country’s successful vaccine rollout — under which 66% of the adult population has now received two doses of the jab — has broken the link between infections and severe illness.
But Covid-19 case numbers have surpassed 50,000 a day in the UK at the same time that “normal life” resumes — nearly 52,000 new cases, and 49 deaths, were recorded on Friday.
Scientists condemn UK's 'dangerous and unethical' reopening plans
Scientists condemn UK’s ‘dangerous and unethical’ reopening plans
England’s reopening is the latest pandemic measure to divide opinion in the country. While many in Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party support his approach, scientists have issued dire warnings that the health of millions of people is at stake, since herd immunity has not been reached and around 17 million people — some classed as extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 — remain unvaccinated.
After modelling suggested that thousands of people may die if the UK reopened in June, Johnson kicked back the UK’s “Freedom Day.”
Dr. Oliver Watson, a researcher modelling Covid-19 transmission at Imperial College London, told CNN there appeared to be little political will to delay the reopening further, despite the numbers, and the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain of Covid-19 in the UK.
Watson contrasted the UK’s loosening of restrictions in the face of all the data, with the situation in Singapore, where — despite a determination to return to normal life — the authorities still appear keen to clamp down on cases of the virus.
“The ease with which Singapore will tighten their restrictions in response to local outbreaks is just completely worlds apart to how they [the UK government] handles things,” he said.
An “unethical experiment?” RELEASE
Mask mandates in England will end on July 19.
Mask mandates in England will end on July 19.
Ong told Bloomberg that “the balance will shift,” but mitigation and containment measures would not be abandoned. Instead, he said, Singapore’s reopening would be gradual, “package by package — nothing ‘big bang’ — and each step of the way, make sure we keep populations safe.” RELEASE reopening.


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