To deal with vaccine hesitancy, Singapore tightens restrictions and drafts a comic.


As Singapore’s coronavirus infections tick up, the federal government is tightening restrictions. It’s additionally preventing vaccine hesitancy on social media — by ordering corrections and posting whimsical content material.

Singapore mentioned on Tuesday that it had recorded 64 circumstances of group transmission over the previous week, up from 11 circumstances the earlier week. Seven of the current circumstances have been brought on by the B.1.617 variant that has wreaked havoc in India, in accordance with the authorities.

In an effort to tamp down the newest outbreak and forestall variants from spreading, the Singaporean authorities mentioned on Tuesday that vacationers arriving from most nations should quarantine for 21 days at “devoted amenities,” up from 14 days, beginning on Saturday.

Mass sporting occasions are additionally set to be suspended and social gatherings can be capped at 5 individuals till Could 30, amongst different restrictions.

About 2.2 million individuals in Singapore, or practically 1 / 4 of the inhabitants, had obtained at the very least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Wednesday, according to a New York Times database.

However Singapore’s vaccination marketing campaign has been threatened by falsehoods spreading on social media — for instance, a rumor that Covid-19 vaccines trigger strokes and coronary heart assaults.

The Well being Ministry has debunked rumors and ordered corrections to social media posts that endorse false or unsubstantiated claims about vaccine uncomfortable side effects. (That is allowed under a contentious law that the federal government says is designed to combat pretend information.)

The federal government has additionally commissioned a whimsical music video by a Singaporean pop-culture heavyweight, comic and actor, Gurmit Singh, that addresses frequent vaccine issues and misconceptions.

“Singapore, don’t wait and see,” he sings within the refrain, dancing to a disco beat. “Higher get your shot, regular pom pi pi.”

“Regular pom pi pi” is a phrase from Singlish, a rough-and-ready patois that’s spoken broadly within the nation and incorporates English, Chinese language and Malay. It refers to somebody who retains their cool in a tense scenario and was a catchphrase utilized by Mr. Singh’s best-known character, Phua Chu Kang, a constructing contractor in a long-running Nineties sitcom on Singaporean tv.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the federal government’s tweet containing the video had been seen greater than 750,000 occasions.

Since a two-month lockdown ended final June, life in Singapore has steadily returned practically to regular, though residents are nonetheless required to put on masks in public and must make money working from home if they’ll. Dale Fisher, a professor of drugs on the Nationwide College of Singapore, mentioned some individuals within the city-state had develop into extra lax about mask-wearing and social distancing and that the brand new measures served as a reminder that the pandemic was removed from over.

Nonetheless, Dr. Fisher mentioned, Singapore’s in depth contact tracing and tight quarantine necessities made a harsher lockdown pointless. “With all these tweaks, I’m hoping we are able to reveal that widespread lockdowns aren’t wanted in case you’ve obtained good public well being infrastructure in place,” he added.