Thursday, May 28, 2009

H1N1 in Singapore

H1N1 finally hits Singapore. The student from one of the university returned from New York with cough and missed by thermal scanner (not really missed, she is without fever after all) and then visited GP after developing fever. To be sent to CDC at TTSH and confirmed as first victim.

After that, came salvo of curses from some people shouting at her "foolishness" and "selfishness". They think that if she has not returned, there won't be H1N1 in Singapore. They seem to miss the point that today's global world is so interconnected that despite of what people do, pandemic will travel. Illness will reach everywhere, provided the transmissibility is good. Even mathematical modelling assuming 99.9% travel restriction into the country only produce delays of 2 months for pandemic to reach the country! If it's not her, it'll be definitely someone else.

She in fact has been quite responsible for going to doctor, revealing her travel history. I think people should realize that she acts correctly as the government never forbid the travel in any case. She has weighed her risk by travelling to NY. Government has weighed the risk by not banning travel. They all know non symptomatic person can infect starting 24 hours before symptom and not all symptomatic person has fever. Both sides know their risk, they accept it. Now that incident happens, it should be remedied and reacted upon. The importance is the reaction and quarantine not laying blame.

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