Singapore’s infectious disease expert Paul Tambyah spoke to Bloomberg on 29 Nov 2021. He shares that it is very difficult to prepare for the next pandemic.
In the interview, he also shared his opinions on the current COVID measures.
On Travel Bans and Restrictions
Answering the reporter’s question about his thoughts on the recent travel bans, Paul Tambyah thinks that they are “completely unjustified”.
“Trying to impose travel bans now is like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.”Dr Paul Tambyah
He says that the Omicron variant has already reached many countries, including Singapore and Europe. This travel ban on South Africa does not stop this variant from spreading. Instead, according to Dr Tambyah, what it does is punishes South Africans for identifying the cases and for being transparent.
On Dealing With New Variants
With regard to the new variants, Dr Tambyah thinks that we should learn to live with frequent mutations of the virus. To cope, we should do detailed contact tracing when new variants appear.
“When you start getting hundreds of thousands of cases a day, it is too late to do detailed contact tracing.”Dr Paul Tambyah
So basically, don’t do whatever Singapore has been doing.
Our Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) has been reactive, only banning travelers after the virus has already appeared on our shores. Look at the start of COVID, then the Delta variant, and now the Omicron variant. We have also stopped with proper contact tracing.
This is why we keep going back to square one every time a new variant appears.
“I hate to say this, but 2022 will look a lot like what this year looks like.”Paul Tambyah
Why is this infectious disease expert not a part of out MTF? He should be replacing the 3 jokers who don’t even have a medical background!