By Lee Jia Ren (19J09), Yeoh Jun Lynn (20J17) & Chin Xin Yi (20J17)

Photo from Wallie and Mike on Dribble

The first case of the coronavirus dates back to as early as December 2019, when an individual from the Hubei province in China was diagnosed with a suspected case of pneumonia. Fast forward to today, more than 17 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with the disease! To make things worse, these numbers are increasing exponentially in several countries across the globe, and the situation shows no signs of improving in the near future.

Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in one way or another. For most of us, we have had similar or even identical experiences during these trying times. Here’s an overview of the situation so far, as a reminder of how far we’ve come!

Why do we worry?

Covid-19 is a very contagious disease. Despite the fact that Singapore is a small country, it has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in South-east Asia -- with more than 20,000 patients in May. That is already a sufficient reason for the waves of attention it has received from many Singaporeans -- with everyone in a constant state of anxiety for their own health, as well as that of their kin, despite countless safety measures put in place by the government. Our interviewees shared their concerns about containing the spread of the Covid-19 disease. Although the situation is getting better over time -- as we proceed from the circuit breaker to phase 1 and phase 2, many are still concerned that they might be the “lucky one”.

Some infected patients may only show symptoms of having contracted the disease much later, and this significantly increases the risk of the virus spreading community-wide. To make things worse, there are still many individuals who are not following rules! As restrictions are loosened, many are letting their guard down. After being stuck at home for so long, many Singaporeans and RVians alike are eager to spend their time outside with their friends. However, these are the very places which tend to be more crowded, and ignoring safe-distancing measures can increase the risk of transmission of the virus! While we are free to do what we want, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

On a smaller scale, it has been long since RVians were informed that major events like sports zonal and national competitions will be cancelled. It is definitely disappointing for many RVians, considering that they have been training hard for it since the start of the year, some even earlier. For example, a member of RV’s Softball Team, Macy Chan, has expressed her disappointment when she was first informed that the National School Games ‘A’ Division Softball would be cancelled. This is because it means that she and her batchmates will only be able to participate in competition for a year, instead of two, which was rather upsetting.

All in all, these few months have been a rough time for many RVians. Despite this, some RVians are also heartened to see the measures implemented in public spaces, as they feel that the school and the government are taking their health as their top priority. While it has certainly been a disappointment for many sports players, most of them are reassured as they will have an extra year to prepare for the next year’s season, for the softballers and friends across other sports CCAs.

How do we deal with this?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Surely you remember the shopping hauls that had everyone in a frenzy, clearing out racks of thermometers, hand sanitizers, and even toilet paper rolls. Or how taking public transport even now can get awkward quickly; one cough and people will turn to look at you or inch a few centimeters away. Objectively speaking, all these sound ridiculous, yet we do see this sentiment being echoed among our interviewees. We do hope that more RVians learn to draw a line between vigilance and overreaction.

Of course, it’s reassuring to hear that our friends have taken precautions as they stock up on supplies. While life goes on as usual, they have picked up the habit of mask-wearing and carrying hand sanitizers, as well as minimising the time they spend in public areas. Just like many of us, they are managing the situation to the best of their abilities.

Now what?

Thankfully, despite the unexpectedness of this situation, many RVians are handling it well. Many find the regular updates from the government and tight control over the situation comforting, including Si Hui (20J17), one of our interviewees.

The frontline workers in Singapore have been working tirelessly to fight the disease, and that has heartened not only our interviewees, but also other RVians. In addition, although some of us may feel a bit tired of having to follow the many measures that were implemented by the school, they have also been a source of comfort, according to one of the interviewed RVians. These measures show that the school and government consider citizens’ health their top priority.

In addition…

School is a huge relief for those of us whose productivity dropped to zero during the Circuit Breaker (which, let’s be honest, is most of us). While it is business as usual in terms of our homework, examinations and all, the school has been taking no chances with regards to our health. Students are required to put on their face mask at all times except when they are having PE lessons or eating, as well as wipe down canteen tables after use. The hardest rule of all to follow may be social distancing -- how many of us are guilty of pretending that “one metre” means one centimetre? These rules might come across as troublesome for many, but they are still necessary in ensuring we stay safe and play our part by being socially responsible. With the decreasing number of cases in Singapore, as long as we take precautions, we should be able to sit with our friends again! The school holidays are approaching, and with that many of us are planning to go out with our friends (don’t deny it). It is important to stay vigilant -- don’t let one moment of fun lead to regret!

To reiterate...

Even as the number of daily cases in Singapore decrease, it is important to stay vigilant. Recently, a number of cases have been reported in the west side of Singapore, especially in Jurong! To truly eradicate the virus from Singapore, we need to be alert, not complacent. Wash your hands frequently, carry around your own hand sanitiser for easy access (just one bottle, please), and be wary of crowded places (stay at home and study -- let’s get those A’s!).

Take care of yourself, wear a mask if you’re going out, tune in to the news for daily updates, and don't forget to stay healthy and happy!

P.S. Thank you to all our interviewees for their kind responses!

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