Singapore’s ‘test, trace, vaccinate’ video sparks question on why other countries cannot do similar COVID-19 response

July 5, 2021 - 5:19 PM
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A COVID-19 campaign video in Singapore emphasized testing, tracing and vaccination, the three main preventive measures against the virus, in reopening their country.

Citizens of other countries, including the Philippines, questioned why the same approach could not be done by their own governments upon view the campaign video.

The video clip titled “Together, towards a new normal” was released on Singapore government’s official social media accounts on July 2.

“Buckle up Singapore, here’s a brand new safety video to get everyone ready for a whole new normal! #TestTraceVaccinate,” read the caption.

It featured Singaporean celebrities Annette Lee, Yung Raja, Ng Ming Wei, Mark Lee Kok Huang and Siti Khalijah.

As of writing, the campaign video earned over 1.6 million views on Twitter, 19,474 views on YouTube and 111,000 views on Facebook.

In the nearly two-minute campaign video, the preventive measures phrase “Let’s test. Let’s trace. Let’s vaccinate” was highlighted.

It also showcased Singapore’s COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART) self-test kits wherein residents can conduct tests at the safety of their own homes.

For tracing, it featured Singapore government’s community-driven tracing initiative called the “TraceTogether.”

Under this initiative, residents can easily determine if they have been exposed to an infected person. They only have to either avail a digital “token” device or download an application for it.

Before the video ended, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave a message.

“In the new normal, COVID-19 will not dominate our lives. To keep our people safe, while reopening progressively, we have to test, we have to trace, we have to vaccinate,” he said.

The video that encouraged vaccination also attached a link to the vaccination program of the government.

Based on Singapore government’s website, there are four priority groups—seniors, students, residents aged 39 and below, and those aged 40 and above for vaccination.

How citizens from others reacted

Singapore’s campaign video drew praises online because of its catchy chorus which underscored the importance of testing, tracing and vaccination.

Some citizens from other countries, however, couldn’t help but compare such response to that of their own governments.

“When Singapore is already in new normal, here comes Indonesia going backward as when pandemic just started; panic buying, instantaneous lockdown, chaos in hospitals,” one Twitter user said.

“Meanwhile in Australia. Sigh,” another Twitter user said.

One Twitter user observed that most of these sad reactions were online users from Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines.

Filipinos, in particular, aired their frustrations over the national government’s efforts, citing questionable use of public funds, prolonged quarantine, confusing policy on face shields and other perceived failures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we should be doing: Test. Trace. Vaccinate. Not allow billions of funds to go unspent beyond the deadline,” a Twitter user said.

“Singapore: test, trace, vaccinate. Philippines: quarantine, face shield, Ivermectin,” another user tweeted.

“Philippines: government still figuring out face-shields,” a Twitter user said.

Some Filipino online users specifically recalled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s use of a meter stick to enforce physical distancing in public areas.

READ: ‘Hanggang stick na lang?’ Renewed criticisms vs Duque’s use of meter stick amid COVID-19 cases surge

COVID-19 cases

As of July 5, the Department of Health recorded a 1,441,746 cases. Of these, 51,594 are active cases while 1,364,960 are recoveries and 25,192 are deaths.

Indonesia, meanwhile, has an alarming 2,228,938 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization tracker as of July 2. Of these, there are 59,534 deaths.

In Australia, there are 30,757 total infections, wherein 423 are active cases and 910 deaths.

While not as high as the Philippines and Indonesia, the Australian government is currently battling outbreaks caused by the Delta variant.

International reports said residents in Australia’s New South Wales are under stay-at-home orders amid rising infections in the region.

READ: Delta variant sweeps Asia, prompting curbs as vaccination remains tepid