In case you’ve missed the memo, the COVID-19 pandemic is still here. Although scientists are hopeful, it will become endemic, like the flu, now is not the best time to let our guards down.
Continue staying safe as we move into the new normal with these tips:
1. Share the Right Type of Mask
Because people can transmit the virus by droplets, wearing a mask is still one of your best defences in this pandemic. You still need it even if you’re inoculated. Almost 40,000 seniors remain unvaccinated in Singapore, which means they can spread the virus in significant loads and get sick severely if they catch the disease from you.
However, it matters the kind of mask to wear. The best mask is a medical-grade mask that blocks droplets, such as the N95 masks. However, they can be expensive and in short supply. The next best option is a well-designed surgical mask that can filter over 90 percent of droplets or particles.
Another alternative is to pair a bandana or cloth mask with a surgical mask to improve the filtering system of the fabric.
2. Wear the Mask Correctly
Even if you have the best-quality mask, it is still useless if you don’t wear it properly. The mask should cover your nose and mouth tightly. You should not see, feel, or touch gaps between the skin and the mask.
Find a mask that fits your size. Otherwise, invest in a tape to keep the mask in place even when you’re talking or a mask extender or tightener. You can also get one that you can tie around your head.
3. Get Yourself Vaccinated
Despite the recent controversies, you should still get vaccinated. It is a safe option to protect yourself and others against COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine has shown 58 percent efficacy in preventing severe disease even after one shot. When you get two doses, you can increase that by as much as 85 percent.
These vaccines are free for Singaporean citizens and long-term residents. The country has also started rolling out booster shots for people 12 years old and above who have completed their first vaccination (two doses of the vaccine). You only need to register at vaccine.gov.sg and wait for an SMS notification indicating the confirmation of the appointment.
Although you may choose to skip vaccination, your movements may be limited. Moreover, the government won’t pay for your COVID treatment.
4. Wash Your Hands Correctly
Handwashing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wet your hands with water and soap, scrub them for at least 20 seconds, rinse them well, and air-dry them or use a paper towel.
Do not touch your face, especially your nose and mouth, while you’re washing your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. These include tables, doorknobs, and remote controls. Use disinfectant wipes, a bleach solution, or disinfectant spray.
5. Quarantine or Isolate
Singapore has provided enough guidelines on what to do when you need to quarantine or isolate. If you’ve been exposed to somebody with the disease, you may have to quarantine for 10 days, wherein you have to go through several RT-PCR and antigen tests.
You may not be allowed to conduct daily outdoor activities except for the tests and doctor’s appointments, although you will have access to telemedicine.
If you test positive, the government has eased some restrictions based on studies that show the Omicron variant causes less severe symptoms. You need to isolate yourself for six days at home. The government will send you a care package to help with your treatment.
6. Practice Social Distancing
Social distancing is still the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Make sure you stay at least six feet away from others, especially if they’re not in your household or social bubble and are not wearing a mask.
You should also avoid attending large gatherings like parties, concerts, and conventions until it’s safe again for the general public.
7. Stay Updated with the COVID-19 Rules
Last but not least, you should stay updated with the COVID-19 rules. The government may implement new measures to control the spread of the disease and relax some restrictions if they deem it safe enough for people.
The pandemic has affected our daily lives in a lot of ways. However, there are still steps we can take to protect ourselves and others against COVID-19. Make sure you follow all the tips mentioned above to stay safe during this crisis.
For more information, please visit the Singapore government’s website on health and COVID-19.