SDP's plan to 'exit Covid pandemic' includes no blanket restrictions, halting testing of fully vaccinated without symptoms

The SDP welcomes public feedback on their Covid-19 plan.

Sulaiman Daud | September 28, 2021, 05:21 PM

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Chee Soon Juan announced in a Facebook post on Sep. 27 that the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has an eight-point plan for Singapore to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Calling it an exit strategy, and criticising the government's response ("yo-yo type of policy making"), Chee said that Paul Tambyah, party chairman and infectious diseases expert, will be involved in drawing up the plan.

On Sep. 28, the party released the plan on its website, and invited the public to provide feedback.

Point 1: Don't test asymptomatic vaccinated individuals

"Stop testing asymptomatic vaccinated individuals outside of contact tracing. This will help ensure that resources are concentrated on those who need them most – the elderly and vulnerable who are actually infected."

The SDP did not elaborate on what resources they were referring to, whether it was test kits or something else.

This policy, if implemented, would put an end to measures like Pre-Event Testing for large-scale events such as weddings, and routine tests for people who work in public-facing roles, like at gyms.

Point 2: Those who test positive should be evaluated for whether hospitalisation is necessary

"Ensure that those who test positive including pregnant women and children report to the nearest Public Health Preparedness Clinic (private General Practitioners or polyclinics) who can then evaluate them and decide if they need to be hospitalised or simply monitored over the week or so as we do with other infectious diseases such as urinary tract infections or food poisoning. GPs should be appropriately compensated for the care they provide."

The Public Health Preparedness Clinics were designated as such back in early 2020, and are intended to better detect and manage Covid-19 cases by treating patients with respiratory symptoms.

Point 3: Segregate infected nursing home patients from other residents, if they don't need hospitalisation, to relieve strain on hospitals

"Facilitate nursing homes to keep infected patients who are stable and do not need hospitalisation in their facilities but segregate them from the rest of the residents. Have GPs check on them and decide when they need hospitalisation. This will relieve the strain on hospitals and ensure that those who need hospital care are not deprived or delayed."

Point 4: Dedicated ambulance hotline

"Set up a dedicated ambulance hotline similar to what was used during SARS for those who have tested positive or are identified as contacts so they can be rapidly brought to the hospital if their pulse oximeter readings show evidence of low oxygen concentrations."

In July 2021, the Temasek Foundation gave away free oximeters to Singaporean households.

Point 5: Publish regular reports on test positivity and all clusters

"Publish regular reports on test positivity and all clusters (like the dengue cluster reports) as in the recent decision to publish a map of emerging cases. This will help the public to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms after visiting those areas."

The Ministry of Health recently announced that it would publish a map of hotspots frequented by a large number of Covid cases.

Point 6: No blanket closures or restrictions

"Do away with blanket closures and restrictions. Instead, implement interventions that are targeted like with food poisoning outbreaks or hand, foot and mouth disease outbreaks in childcare centres. Shut the physical building or facility where an outbreak occurs instead of across the whole island where outbreaks have not occurred."

This would do away with blanket restrictions like the limit of two people dining at restaurants.

Point 7: Molecular epidemiology for positive cases

"Intensify molecular epidemiology (genetic fingerprinting) process. Every public hospital and referral lab must perform this for every positive case and the information should be fed into a database modelled on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) GISAID and the information therein made publicly available. This will make the identification of large clusters reliable."

Point 8: Conduct trials on vaccines and "other preventative agents"

"Conduct rapid adaptive design randomised clinical trials on all WHO-approved vaccines so they can be brought in for the trials and studied as boosters or primary doses. These vaccines should be commissioned and funded rapidly.

The same should be done for other preventative agents which have shown promise in earlier randomised trials such as povidone iodine or ivermectin. This will settle once and for all in a clear scientific manner many of the questions swirling around social media on alternatives to the current vaccination strategies."

The SDP added, "Collectively, these measures will provide society with a more reliable and predictable way of handling the pandemic. They will build confidence as we go forward in dealing with a virus that is here to stay. Singapore must deal with the pandemic in a steady and intelligent manner that brings hope and security."

The SDP invited the public to give feedback, and the public can do so at the various links provided in their website page.

Top image by Andrew Koay

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