The Bright Side Of Covid-19: Seven Opportunities Of The Current Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of dark sides. Around the world, people get ill and die, schools close, the healthcare system is overloaded, employees lose their jobs, companies face bankruptcy, stock markets collapse and countries have to spend billions on bailouts and medical aid. And for everyone, whether directly hurt or not, Covid-19 is a huge stressor shaking up our psyche, triggering our fears and uncertainties.

No matter how serious and sad all of this is, there are upsides as well. Therefore, along the Monty Python song “Always look on the bright side of life” let’s not forget those and make the best of what the crisis gives us. As the good old SWOT analysis tells us, there are not only threats, but also opportunities. With opportunities I don’t mean that the crisis provides extra business for companies like Zoom and Go to Webinar that enable virtual meetings, or for Amazon, which is planning to hire another 100,000 employees. The latter is probably more a threat than an opportunity for most, especially for the mom & pop stores that go through difficult times already.

With opportunities I mean general opportunities that are available for most people affected by the crisis. The current crisis offers at least seven of them:

Opportunity 1: More time

In today’s overheated economy time is often seen as the most valuable and sparse thing we have. Covid-19 shows why: because we have stacked our week with social gatherings and entertainment such as going to the theater, birthdays, cinema, restaurant, bar, sportclub, gym, music, festivals, concerts and what is more. Suddenly, all of that is cancelled or forbidden, giving us significant amounts of extra time. And still, live goes on. This shows us how easy it is to clear our calendars. Obviously this doesn’t apply to the health-care sector and other crucial sectors, but beyond those it applies to a large majority of sectors.

PROMOTED Deloitte BrandVoice | Paid Program Will 2021 Be The Year To Align Globally On Sustainability Reporting? UNICEF USA BrandVoice | Paid Program UNICEF USA Celebrates The Passage Of The Global Child Thrive Act Civic Nation BrandVoice | Paid Program The Best Job In The World

The opportunity is that we can spend this time on other things—or even better, on nothing and enjoy the free time. Looking at the crowded parks, waste collection points, garden centres and DIY stores in the last week, many people seem to have a hard time with the latter. Instead of enjoying the extra free time, they fill it immediately with other activities. To seize this first opportunity though, re-arranging how you spend your time and reserving time for nothingness is key. Not just during the crisis, but also after it. The advices in my previous article on the Covid-19 crisis could help in realizing this.

Opportunity 2: Reflect and reconsider

The fact that the coronavirus disrupts our day-t0-day lives provides an opportunity to reflect on things and to reconsider what we do, how we do it and why we do it. Things we took for granted—like going to the gym—are suddenly not possible anymore. Furthermore, many people have had to change their mode of working and work from home instead of at the office. This means that a lot of our routines are interrupted. MORE FOR YOUWhy KPIs Don’t Work; And How To Fix ThemHow Cisco Takes Care Of Its EmployeesWhat Business Leaders Can Learn From The Special Forces

This offers a great opportunity to rethink our habits and routines and make changes. Now that you haven’t been able to go to the restaurant twice a week, commute 2 hours per day, hang out with your friends or go to a party every weekend, you can reflect on whether you really want to continue doing so after the crisis. The virus forces you to make changes to your daily life that you might actually want to keep also after the crisis.

Opportunity 3: Speed and innovation

Many organizations suffer from slow procedures, complex bureaucracies and rigid hierarchies making organizational life less than pleasant. The coronavirus has forced many of them to break through these rigid systems and act instantly. Suddenly procedures can be skipped or accelerated, rules can be side-tracked and decisions can be made more autonomously without formal approval. And suddenly employees are allowed to work from home without direct supervision.

Covid-19 shows that, as soon as there is a strong enough stimulus, things can change. This leads to remarkable innovations. Not being allowed to open their doors, restaurants, for example, are shifting to delivery mode. And schools suddenly do much of the teaching and even some of the testing online. This brings the opportunity to create innovations now that can be maintained after the crisis. And it also can help to keep the current speed and innovation mode afterwards.

Opportunity 4: Better meetings

As referred to in an earlier article, people spend up to 23 hours per week in meetings, half of which are considered a failure or waste of time. The current crisis has forced us to rethink how we deal with meetings. Because in many countries it is not allowed anymore to meet with a group of persons, many meetings are cancelled. And when they still take place they are mostly virtual and shorter.

As such, it provides an excellent opportunity for resolving one of the most disliked parts of organizational life. The technology for this is already present and mature for a couple of years, but the coronavirus triggers a sudden need for it. The real opportunity here is to make systematic changes so that meetings will be more effective, also after the crisis.

Opportunity 5: Reconnect and help

Challenging times offer a great opportunity for social bonding and other ways of connecting to and helping people. Of course, not being able to visit friends or family has increased isolation and feelings of loneliness in some cases. But the feeling of “we’re in this together” has also triggered interesting ways of connecting. Some of those have gone viral—such as Italians singing together from their windows and balconies—but there are many small, local initiatives too to connect and help people who need it.

In the individualized societies many of us live in, this provides opportunities to reconnect and create more social coherence. Not only during the crisis, but also afterwards. This opportunity comes with a big caveat though. Parallel to these nice initiatives we also witness how far people go to protect themselves and their families. People hoard food, medicine, toilet paper and guns without thinking a second of others. However, while it triggers self-serving egocentric behavior too, the Covid-19 crisis does provide us the opportunity to reconnect and show our social side.

Opportunity 6: Cleaner environment

The virus caused a shutdown or dramatical decrease of industrial activities. Factories are closed or operate far below their capacity, road traffic has reduced radically and air traffic collapsed, and the lack of tourism has emptied the streets in overcrowded cities like Venice, Amsterdam and New York. While this may be bad news for most people and especially those working in the affected industries, this is also good news for our planet. Covid-19 causes a significant reduction in green house gasses and other air, water and land polluting outputs. In Venice this has allegedly led to dolphins return after just a couple of weeks (although some argued this to be a hoax).

Whether the particular example is a hoax or not is not so relevant. The fact is that the shutdown and lockdown of large parts of our economy is good for nature—at least on the short term. The opportunity this provides, is to keep parts of this in place also after the crisis to make long-term improvements. Along the line of the previous opportunities, the current crisis provides us an opportunity to reconsider our lives and reorganize it in a way that has less impact on our planet.

Opportunity 7: Modesty and acceptance

The final opportunity that the Covid-19 crisis offers, is a chance to create awareness for the moderate role we play on this planet and accept that things cannot always go as we want them to go. The Covid-19 pandemic is a global crisis chat is unprecedented in modern peace time. We had other pandemics like SARS, but their impact was less substantial. And we had the 1973 oil crisis, but that was a man-made crisis. The coronavirus is not man-made and yet disrupts lives across the planet.

As such, the virus shows us that, no matter how well-planned and organized we are and no matter how much we live in the Anthropocene—the era characterized by significant human impact—we are not in control. One simple virus is disrupting everything. This offers a great opportunity. In almost every aspect of life we want to be in control. Whether it is health, airline safety or our calendars, we live in the illusion that full control is possible. The virus can help us create awareness that this is not the case. It provides an opportunity to take a more modest role and accept that many things are simply beyond our control.

Once again, the Covid-19 crisis has a large dark side. But as these seven opportunities show, it has positive sides as well. Since all seven opportunities require a quite fundamental change in how we approach the world, seizing them can take substantial time. In that sense, and if we keep on looking at the brighter sides of life, the longer the crisis lasts, the larger the opportunities are and the bigger the chances are of actually making changes to our deeply rooted habits and convictions. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Jeroen Kraaijenbrink

 Jeroen Kraaijenbrink

I help companies do strategy through training, mentoring and consulting. My drive is to bring you and your organization to the next level with strategy approaches that work. I wrote “Strategy Consulting,” “Nor More Bananas,” and “The Strategy Handbook.” Reach out to me via jeroenkraaijenbrink.com,  LinkedIn or jk@kraaijenbrink.com

.

Pat Flynn 282K subscribers 26 million Americans are without a job right now, and that’s just in the U.S. alone. It’s a terrible situation, one that I’m all too familiar with myself having gotten laid off during the recession in 2008. These are tough times, but there are opportunities within them, too. I was able to build a business back in 2008 as a result of getting laid off, and I imagine that those who focus on the future, and the ability to create something new now, are the ones who are going to come out of this dire situation best.

More Contents:

Industry Trend On Global Manual Capsule Filling Machine Market Analysis Of Key Player 2021 – 2026 – http://www.articletrunk.com – Today[…] List included in Manual Capsule Filling Machine Market Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Manual Capsule Filling Machine Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwid […]0

CFO Leaders: Steel Is ‘Toys For Big Boys’- Koushik Chatterjee http://www.bloombergquint.com – Today[…] lost all the benefits and not taking care of the opportunities that we have created in the last pandemic.” Opportunities that might prepare the company better for the next turn in cycle — up or down […]1

Global 4-Phenylbenzophenone(Photoinitiator PBZ) Market : Competitive Analysis, Key Competitors, Drivers, Restraints and Forecast by 2026 – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] List included in 4-Phenylbenzophenone(Photoinitiator PBZ) Market Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in 4-Phenylbenzophenone(Photoinitiator PBZ) Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along […]N/A

Global Aero Derivative Gas Turbine Market : Competitive Analysis, Key Competitors, Drivers, Restraints and Forecast by 2026 – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] List included in Aero Derivative Gas Turbine Market Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Aero Derivative Gas Turbine Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwid […]N/A

Industry Trends in the Global Acid Organic Paper Dyes Market SWOT Analysis by Top Companies in 2026 – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] List included in Acid Organic Paper Dyes Market Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Acid Organic Paper Dyes Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwide downturn […]0

Global 1 – 4 – Cyclohexanedimethanol Dibenzoate Market : Competitive Analysis, Key Competitors, Drivers, Restraints and Forecast by 2026 – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] List included in 1 – 4 – Cyclohexanedimethanol Dibenzoate Market Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in 1 – 4 – Cyclohexanedimethanol Dibenzoate Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along […]N/A

Johnson government plans UK National Health Service “overhaul” to streamline privatisation http://www.wsws.org – February 16[…] ” The removal of the tender process “is therefore unlikely to stymie post-pandemic opportunities in the private sector […]11

Extreme Sports Travel Insurance Market 2021: Rising Impressive Business Opportunities Analysis Forecast by 2026 | Key Vendors: Allianz, AIG, Munich RE – ksusentinel.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Extreme Sports Travel Insurance Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwid […]N/A

Latest Research: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software Market Intelligence and Future Prospects 2026 | Leading Players: SAP, Oracle, Sage – ksusentinel.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along […]N/A

Latest Research: Employee Goal Setting Software Market Intelligence and Future Prospects 2026 | Leading Players: Performance Appraisal, Gtmhub, Workteam OKR – ksusentinel.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Employee Goal Setting Software Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwid […]0

Global Deep Learning Chipset Market Size, Share, Trends and Leading Players 2026 : NVIDIA, Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, CEVA – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Deep Learning Chipset Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics of th […]0

Global Elastic Bonding Adhesives Market Analysis, Drivers, Restraints, Opportunities 2021-2026 | Henkel Corporation, Sika AG, Bostik, DoW Chemical Company – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Elastic Bonding Adhesives Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics o […]N/A

Exclusive Report: What’s New in Data Quality Tools Market for 2021 – IBM, Informatica, SAS, SAP, Oracle – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Data Quality Tools Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics of the Dat […]N/A

Global Earthmoving Fasteners Market Trends and Growth Outlook 2021-2026 | Vescovini (sbe), Gem-year, Shandong Gaoqiang, Standard Parts – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Earthmoving Fasteners Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics of th […]0

Global Electrical Conduits Market LIVE Updates: Size-Share Analysis and System Production (2021-2026) | Wheatland Tube, Conduit Pipe Products – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Electrical Conduits Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics of th […]0

Global Conductive Elastomer Gasket Market Analysis, Drivers, Restraints, Opportunities 2021-2026 | Parker Chomerics, Parker Hannifin, Vanguard Products – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Conductive Elastomer Gasket Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics o […]0

Global Corrugated Boxes Market Trends and Growth Outlook 2021-2026 | International Paper, WestRock (RockTenn), Smurfit Kappa Group, Rengo, SCA – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Corrugated Boxes Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics of th […]N/A

Global Denitration Catalyst Market Size, Share, Trends and Leading Players 2026 : Nippon Shokubai, Johnson Matthey, Haldor Topsoe – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Denitration Catalyst Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics of th […]0

Exclusive Report: What’s New in Copper Alloy Tubes Market for 2021 – PIPEX Italia, US Korea Hotlink, Tube Tech Copper And Alloys – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Copper Alloy Tubes Market: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the dynamics of th […]0

Exclusive Report: What’s New in Electric Vehicles for Construction, Agriculture and Mining Market for 2021 – Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, John Deere – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Electric Vehicles for Construction, Agriculture and Mining Market: The COVID-19 pandemic ha […]0

Latest Research: Erosion Control Blankets Market Intelligence and Future Prospects 2025 | Propex, Contech Engineered Solutions, American Excelsior – ksusentinel.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Erosion Control Blankets Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwide downturn, […]N/A

Global Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Market LIVE Updates: Size-Share Analysis and System Production (2021-2026) | Sigma-Aldrich (Merck), Ossila, Zeon Nano Technology Co. Ltd. – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwid […]N/A

Global Paint Stripper Market LIVE Updates: Size-Share Analysis and System Production (2021-2026) | WM Barr, Savogran, Dumond Chemicals – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 16[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Paint Stripper Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwide downturn, which has […]0

Global Long Type Nickel Chromium Molybdenum Alloy Market Size, Share, Trends and Leading Players 2026 : SMC, ThyssenKrupp VDM, Carpenter – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 15[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Long Type Nickel Chromium Molybdenum Alloy Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along […]0

Global Long Type Cast Nickel Molybdenum Alloy Market Trends and Growth Outlook 2021-2026 | SMC, ThyssenKrupp VDM, Carpenter, Imphy Alloys – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 15[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in Long Type Cast Nickel Molybdenum Alloy Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along […]0

Exclusive Report: What’s New in PET Foam Market for 2021 – Armacell International, 3A Composites, Gurit Holding, Diab Group (Ratos Ab) – http://www.articletrunk.com – February 15[…] Analysis of COVID-19 Impact & Post Pandemic Opportunities in PET Foam Market: The episode of COVID-19 has brought along a worldwide downturn, which ha […]

3 New York Children Die From Syndrome Possibly Linked to COVID-19

1

NEW YORK — Three children have now died in New York state from a possible complication from the coronavirus involving swollen blood vessels and heart problems, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

At least 73 children in New York have been diagnosed with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease — a rare inflammatory condition in children — and toxic shock syndrome. Most of them are toddlers and elementary-age children.

Cuomo announced two more deaths a day after discussing the death of a 5-year-old boy Thursday at a New York City hospital. He did not give information about where the two other children died, or provide their ages.

There is no proof that the virus causes the syndrome. Cuomo said the children had tested positive for COVID-19 or the antibodies but did not show the common symptoms of the virus when they were hospitalized.

“This is the last thing that we need at this time, with all that is going on, with all the anxiety we have, now for parents to have to worry about whether or not their youngster was infected,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing.

New York is helping develop national criteria for identifying and responding to the syndrome at the request of the Centers for Disease Control, Cuomo said.

Children elsewhere in the U.S. have also been hospitalized with the condition, which was also seen in Europe.

At least 3,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with Kawasaki disease each year. It is most common in children younger than 6 and in boys.

Symptoms include prolonged fever, severe abdominal pain and trouble breathing.

SHELTER BUSES

New York City transit officials said they’re providing buses for homeless people to shelter from unseasonably frigid weather this weekend during newly instituted overnight subway closures.

The subway system has been shutting down from 1 to 5 a.m. since Wednesday as part of an outbreak-related plan for daily train disinfecting. City outreach workers have been persuading homeless people to leave the system for shelters during the shutdowns.

With temperatures around the freezing mark and a traces of snow reported in Manhattan’s Central Park, transit officials said they also would provide a limited number of buses at end-of-line stations Saturday and Sunday.

The buses are not for transportation, “but may serve as a place for individuals to escape the elements in the short term,” according to a prepared statement from New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg and Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano.

“We are providing these buses only during this cold snap and expect the city to continue to step up and take responsibility for providing safe shelter for those individuals experiencing homelessness,” according to the statement.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not immediately respond to an email Saturday morning asking how many buses were provided and how many people were taking shelter in them.

By Associated Press

Please follow my Instagram: http://instagram.com/arminhamidian67

728x90-1-1-1-1

Three children have now died in New York state from a possible complication from the coronavirus involving swollen blood vessels and heart problems, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday. At least 73 children in New York have been diagnosed with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease – a rare inflammatory condition in children – and toxic shock syndrome. Most of them are toddlers and elementary-age children. NEW HERE? – Hi! We’re abc7NY, also known as Channel 7 on TV, home to Eyewitness News, New York’s Number 1 news. We hope you love us on YouTube as much as you do on television! OUR SOCIAL MEDIA – FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ABC7NY/ TWITTER: https://twitter.com/abc7ny INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/abc7ny/ NEWS TIPS: Online: https://7ny.tv/36UsL9a Phone: 917-260-7700 Email: abc7ny@abc.com #abc7NY #coronavirus #covid19

Why Singapore, Once a Model for Coronavirus Response, Lost Control of Its Outbreak

1

A man walks along the corridor of Tuas South dormitory in Singapore on April 19, 2020. Roslan Raman—AFP/Getty Images

Singapore was once seen as a model for how to hold back the coronavirus. But now the tiny city-state, with a population of 5.6 million, has the most reported coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia.

On Monday, officials recorded a new daily record—more than 1,400 additional cases. The number of COVID-19 cases has increased more than two and a half times in the last week, with more than 8,000 total.

Experts say the surge, which began last week, is due largely to local officials underestimating the vulnerability of the city’s migrant workers, who live in cramped dormitories with up to 20 people to a room.

Just 16 of the new cases Monday were Singapore citizens or permanent residents. About three-quarters of all cases in Singapore are linked to the workers’ dormitories, according to official figures.

In the early months of the outbreak, Singapore’s response was praised—alongside those in Hong Kong and Taiwan—as a model for how to stop slow the spread of the coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) commended Singapore, citing its widespread testing and comprehensive tracing of close contacts.

Singapore had also largely managed to quell a second wave of the virus, caused by students and other residents returning home from the U.S. and Europe. Authorities have only recorded one imported case since April8 .

But Hong Kong and Taiwan now appear to have a much better handle on the outbreak. Hong Kong recorded no new cases Monday, and Taiwan recorded just two. Both also have a fraction of the confirmed infections. (1,025 in Hong Kong and 422 in Taiwan), despite having larger populations.

‘A cognitive blindspot’

An estimated 200,000 migrants workers live in 43 dormitories in Singapore, according to figures from the Ministry of Manpower. Most are from less wealthy nations like India and China, and are employed in low-wage jobs like construction, shipyard work and cleaning.

Between 12 and 20 workers typically live in one room, according to TWC2, a non-profit organization that supports migrant workers in Singapore. They share common facilities, like bathrooms and kitchens.

“The dormitories and management of the migrant workers have been a cognitive blindspot,” says Jeremy Lim, a professor and the co-director of global health at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

Keep up to date on the growing threat to global health by signing up for our daily coronavirus newsletter.

“The dorms are structurally not able to provide for the social distancing that is necessary,” Lim, who also works with a local NGO to provide medical care to migrant workers, adds.

Over the last week, authorities have worked to move workers out of their dorms and into vacant public housing blocks, military camps and other accommodations.

Even though the number of infected migrant workers has surged, community-transmitted cases among Singaporeans has been declining, a sign that tough new measures involving the closure of schools, mandatory masking and other policies implemented earlier this month could be working.

But Singapore’s hard-won early victories could easily be undone by the outbreak rampaging through the migrant worker community, Lim warns.

“We are at a critical juncture,” he says. “If we cannot contain the dormitory or the migrant worker outbreaks, it will inevitably spill back into the general population because Singapore is just so small and compact.”

By Hillary Leung  April 20, 2020 7:15 AM EDT

Please follow my instagram: http://instagram.com/arminhamidian67

GM-980x120-BIT-ENG-Banner-1-1-1-1

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, a number of countries including Singapore have imposed increasingly stringent measures. Singapore announced that it will be further tightening its borders. All short-term visitors will no longer be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore from 11.59pm on March 23. This follows other measures including rigorous contact tracing, quarantine and home isolation orders, and stricter social distancing recommendations. In light of all these measures, how important is personal hygiene and cleanliness in dealing with Covid-19? #thebigstory #coronavirus #covid19 ——————– SUBSCRIBE ➤ http://bit.ly/FollowST ——————– WEBSITE ➤ http://www.straitstimes.com TWITTER ➤ https://www.twitter.com/STcom FACEBOOK ➤ https://www.facebook.com/TheStraitsTimes INSTAGRAM ➤ https://www.instagram.com/straits_times PODCASTS ➤ https://omny.fm/shows/st-bt/playlists The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore.

Why Singapore, Once a Model for Coronavirus Response, Lost Control of Its Outbreak

1

A man walks along the corridor of Tuas South dormitory in Singapore on April 19, 2020. Roslan Raman—AFP/Getty Images

Singapore was once seen as a model for how to hold back the coronavirus. But now the tiny city-state, with a population of 5.6 million, has the most reported coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia.

On Monday, officials recorded a new daily record—more than 1,400 additional cases. The number of COVID-19 cases has increased more than two and a half times in the last week, with more than 8,000 total.

Experts say the surge, which began last week, is due largely to local officials underestimating the vulnerability of the city’s migrant workers, who live in cramped dormitories with up to 20 people to a room.

Just 16 of the new cases Monday were Singapore citizens or permanent residents. About three-quarters of all cases in Singapore are linked to the workers’ dormitories, according to official figures.

In the early months of the outbreak, Singapore’s response was praised—alongside those in Hong Kong and Taiwan—as a model for how to stop slow the spread of the coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) commended Singapore, citing its widespread testing and comprehensive tracing of close contacts.

Singapore had also largely managed to quell a second wave of the virus, caused by students and other residents returning home from the U.S. and Europe. Authorities have only recorded one imported case since April 9.

But Hong Kong and Taiwan now appear to have a much better handle on the outbreak. Hong Kong recorded no new cases Monday, and Taiwan recorded just two. Both also have a fraction of the confirmed infections. (1,025 in Hong Kong and 422 in Taiwan), despite having larger populations.

‘A cognitive blindspot’

An estimated 200,000 migrants workers live in 43 dormitories in Singapore, according to figures from the Ministry of Manpower. Most are from less wealthy nations like India and China, and are employed in low-wage jobs like construction, shipyard work and cleaning.

Between 12 and 20 workers typically live in one room, according to TWC2, a non-profit organization that supports migrant workers in Singapore. They share common facilities, like bathrooms and kitchens.

“The dormitories and management of the migrant workers have been a cognitive blindspot,” says Jeremy Lim, a professor and the co-director of global health at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

Keep up to date on the growing threat to global health by signing up for our daily coronavirus newsletter.

“The dorms are structurally not able to provide for the social distancing that is necessary,” Lim, who also works with a local NGO to provide medical care to migrant workers, adds.

Over the last week, authorities have worked to move workers out of their dorms and into vacant public housing blocks, military camps and other accommodations.

Even though the number of infected migrant workers has surged, community-transmitted cases among Singaporeans has been declining, a sign that tough new measures involving the closure of schools, mandatory masking and other policies implemented earlier this month could be working.

But Singapore’s hard-won early victories could easily be undone by the outbreak rampaging through the migrant worker community, Lim warns.

“We are at a critical juncture,” he says. “If we cannot contain the dormitory or the migrant worker outbreaks, it will inevitably spill back into the general population because Singapore is just so small and compact.”

By Hillary Leung  April 20, 2020 7:15 AM EDT

Please follow my instagram: http://instagram.com/arminhamidian67

GM-980x120-BIT-ENG-Banner-1-1-1-1

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, a number of countries including Singapore have imposed increasingly stringent measures. Singapore announced that it will be further tightening its borders. All short-term visitors will no longer be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore from 11.59pm on March 23. This follows other measures including rigorous contact tracing, quarantine and home isolation orders, and stricter social distancing recommendations. In light of all these measures, how important is personal hygiene and cleanliness in dealing with Covid-19? #thebigstory #coronavirus #covid19 ——————– SUBSCRIBE ➤ http://bit.ly/FollowST ——————– WEBSITE ➤ http://www.straitstimes.com TWITTER ➤ https://www.twitter.com/STcom FACEBOOK ➤ https://www.facebook.com/TheStraitsTimes INSTAGRAM ➤ https://www.instagram.com/straits_times PODCASTS ➤ https://omny.fm/shows/st-bt/playlists The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore.

Forget China’s ‘Excessive’ Coronavirus Surveillance—This Is America’s Surprising Alternative

Here’s an interesting twist. China has spent years building a vast surveillance state to digitally track its population, a system that has come to the fore in its attempts to monitor and control the spread of coronavirus. For years we have decried this “big brother” monitoring, and yet it turns out that we have a vast surveillance dataset of our own, just waiting for the government to tap into.

Last week, I reported on viral coronavirus maps that use marketing databases to show the movements of Americans as they congregate and disperse, illustrative of the potential spread of coronavirus infections. The granularity of the data shocked many—although the subject matter distracted most from the underlying issue. The data is unique to individuals but claims anonymity—however, last year the New York Times exposed just how easily that veil is broken.

It is therefore a surprise that the U.S. government—through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has elected to use this marketing dataset rather than mobile operator data to track coronavirus. “Officials across the U.S. are using location data from millions of cellphones,” the Wall Street Journal reported on March 28, “to better understand the movements of Americans during the pandemic.” The newspaper says the plan is “to create a portal for federal, state and local officials that contains geolocation data in what could be as many as 500 cities across the U.S.”

When coronavirus first hit China, the country repurposed its surveillance state into a contact tracing and quarantine enforcement machine. The infrastructure was in place. Facial and license plate recognition, contact tracing and phone tracking, proximity reports from public transportation, apps to determine quarantine status and freedom of movement, and social media to inform on rule-breakers. Described as “excessive coronavirus public monitoring,” it is expanding China’s already pervasive use of biometric people tracking technologies.

In the West we have no such biometric-powered surveillance state, whatever campaign groups might say. There is the rule of law, warranted tracking, even campaigns to remove facial recognition from law enforcement. Meanwhile, we all carry smartphones loaded with apps that we give permission to track us, wherever we go and whenever we go there, down to a frightening level of detail.

Smartphone tracking is becoming the front-end for coronavirus population tracking—be that individuals confined to their homes, curfews, contact tracing or aggregated analysis on the impact of social distancing. A smartphone is a proxy for a person. Track the phones and you track the people. Each device can be uniquely tied to its owner, whether in Beijing or Boston, Shanghai or Seattle.

In the U.K. and mainland Europe, governments and the European Union have pulled data from the mobile network operators themselves to track millions of citizens, aggregated and anonymized, monitoring adherence with social distancing and travel restrictions. There was even talk that the GSMA might develop a centralised data program across 700 operators to track users cross-border.

Mobile networks hold significant data on customers. Location pings, call and messaging metadata, obviously the identities behind the numbers and whatever their CRM systems store. This data has its limitations. It is also heavily regulated, protected from prying eyes except under legally warranted circumstances.

There is however an even larger dataset that has no such regulatory limitations. It contains information on all of us—we actually give it permission to collect our locations, our browsing activities, where we go, when, how often. The information can be mined to infer where we work and live, what we like to do and with who. It is the closest we have to a surveillance state—and it’s now everywhere.

The database is fuelled by the apps on our smartphones—apps we give permission to access data they do not need to execute their own functions. And that data can be sold to create a revenue stream for its operators. Last year, one project set out to show just how out of hand this has become. A security researcher tested 937 Android flashlight apps—the most innocuous apps imaginable, of which 180 requested permission to access our contacts and 131 our precise locations.

This marketing data source, which gathers information on all of us, all of the time, is quite the surveillance feat. If any western government set out its intention to build such a platform there would be an extraordinary public backlash. And yet the data is there and can be accessed commercially for just the payment of a fee.

Once the pandemic is behind us, the memory of those maps tracking us coast to coast will remain. And as we look to the east, to its vast government surveillance ecosystem, perhaps we will recall the equivalent we live with ourselves. The fact is that the necessity of the coronavirus pandemic has pushed government invention into new and surprising areas. And from a surveillance stance, one of the most powerful ways imaginable has been there all the time.

It is clear that over the coming weeks we will be asked to further trade personal privacy for public safety. Those datasets can be mined for ever more powerful information—the same contact tracing and quarantine breaches China monitors. According to the WSJ, the mobile ad data “can reveal general levels of compliance with stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders—and help measure the pandemic’s economic impact by revealing the drop-off in retail customers at stores, decreases in automobile miles driven and other economic metrics.”

Not bad for a ready-made, off-the-shelf alternative.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers—developing advanced surveillance solutions for defence, national security and counter-terrorism. I write about the intersection of geopolitics and cybersecurity, as well as breaking security and surveillance stories. Contact me at zakd@me.com.

Source: Forget China’s ‘Excessive’ Coronavirus Surveillance—This Is America’s Surprising Alternative

Please follow my instagram: http://instagram.com/arminhamidian67

%d bloggers like this: