Lim: Cancel Christmas?

·2 min read

It may seem unlikely that a person like me who is a bit of an adrenaline junkie, albeit semi-retired, should urge people to be cautious. But while I do, on occasion, like to live on the edge, on most days, I actually put a lot of thought into what I do.

Today, with the relaxation of restrictions, I find the risks of going out, going up.

I now see more people outside—notably the elderly and young children. Let’s remember that vaccinated or not, they both belong to the vulnerable sector. I raise no objections to their new-found freedoms but I do feel less safe with more people in the shops, supermarkets and malls.

I feel even less safe with the now optional use of face shields except in certain indoor places. Is cost really an issue? I use the cheap ones and I’m only on my third one, having broken two during this pandemic. I’m sure people spend more money on coffee or cell load than face shields.

While wearing a shield presents some discomfort, it’s a small price to pay for additional protection against a deadly virus.

With government relaxing restrictions, I fear the public will be lulled into a false sense of security—thinking the pandemic is over. Well, it’s not. Not by a long shot.

Europe has been experiencing a spike in the last few weeks despite a 75 percent adult vaccination rate among European union states. Authorities say it’s due to the reopening of the economy, relaxation of rules as well as the presence of the unvaccinated minority.

This should bring to fore the reality of the risks the unvaccinated brings to our communities. The other reality we have to contend with is that while widespread vaccination is crucial in containing this pandemic, it is not enough.

Singapore, this June, announced with great pride its roadmap for the future. But this roadmap was never able to take off. In August and September, cases rose—despite their 82 percent vaccination rate at that time. Restrictions were re-imposed and freedoms were taken back.

Here’s another reality we have to accept: Too much too soon will backfire and come back to haunt us.

We can learn from these real-world scenarios, resist the urge to give in to populist demands and take, instead, a more prudent approach for the future.

When gathering to eat and drink, do so in open-air settings whenever possible. After eating and drinking, put masks back on especially in enclosed settings. Be aware that ventilation is key when indoors. Do the 3ws: wear masks, wash hands, watch the distance. And let’s continue to vaccinate.

Christmas is still six weeks away. Why cancel Christmas when we can cancel risky behavior today? Let’s move with caution rather than think about cancellation. What we do now will decide what Christmas will look like six weeks from today.

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