After a 76-day ban, China reopened the factories and the offices started operating again.
In some countries, such as Germany and Thailand, the number of confirmed cases is falling. Some other countries are even thinking of lifting their blocks altogether.
For Singapore, our circuit breaker measure was to be lifted on May 4, but was later extended to June 1.
We're now about two weeks away before we can finally go back to our old routines – go to the office, eat outside, or even hang out with a friend.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has warned, however, that life will not “go back to normal” when the “circuit breaker” ends.
What will the new normal look like? Here are 10 things that will change or stay in our lives after COVID-19.
What would stay:
1. Physical distancing and face masks
Since the reopening of China, citizens have been free to train and visit public places. However, this reality is only possible because the rules for social distance are strictly observed and the wearing of face masks is mandatory.
The physical distancing and wearing of face masks in Singapore are expected to continue after the end of the Covid 19 pandemic.
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Waiting rooms can also be removed, and hotels must ensure that their lobbies are not overcrowded, as customers don't want to be in crowded queues when checking in. People in the queue can still be expected to be at least 1 meter apart.
Restaurants would also have to reopen with more space between the tables and take measures to control the temperature. Patrons with temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius would then have to be refused entry.
2. Social fear
Before the pandemic, we enjoyed a certain level of trust and took many things for granted.
We could travel almost anywhere without restrictions and meet people without restrictions. According to COVID-19, we will not be able to travel as freely or enjoy the accessibility of the world so easily and will have to think twice before going anywhere or meeting someone.
Let's face it, the reason Singapore had to do a semi-lockdown was that the number of infected people increased. This is probably due to the fact that there were "covidiots" who did not take any social distance measures, which caused the virus to spread further.
Singaporeans continued to crowd in public places and ignored the nation's call to stay at home.
Photo credit: Bargain Singapore
For example, many of them hurried to line up in bubble tea shops when the government announced the closure of these shops.
The pandemic is already exacerbating social fears and agoraphobia, so it will take some time for trust to be restored, and we will continue to be careful with people after the barriers are lifted.
3. Brand new habits
Photo credit: Envirocare Systems
Personal hygiene is expected to continue to be a problem after the pandemic ends.
We now know the importance of washing our hands frequently and not touching our faces unnecessarily (unless we first disinfect our hands).
After the pandemic, we should always have disinfectants with us and frequently disinfect surfaces to keep the virus at bay.
These newly formed habits can last a long time after the circuit breaker is raised and lead to better hygiene overall. That may sound extreme, but handshakes may be a thing of the past.
Before Covid-19 happened, I thought I would have to go out, eat good food, or drink something at least once a week to show that I lived a life.
Then Covid-19 came and I found myself relaxed at home without any of it. It turns out that I can live just as well without my Friday evenings in a restaurant or on Saturdays in a bar.
Instead of being obsessed with watching the latest movies in the cinema, I was content to chill out on Netflix.
The membership in the gym that I had has now also become pointless. I realized that with home training, I can stay in shape without spending a single cent.
This breaker period has allowed me to save a lot of unnecessary expenses for food, entertainment and membership.
When the circuit breaker is raised, I predict that I will come home right after work to enjoy a homemade dinner and run instead of visiting the gym.
5. Remote work
After the Ministry of Labor (MOM) instructed employers to facilitate remote work as much as possible to slow the spread of Covid-19, most of us worked from home.
The mass transition to work from home has shown that most companies can make the leap to remote work, but it seemed to have postponed it until the pandemic broke out.
In addition, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, announced that working from home will continue to be the norm for the majority even after the breaker closes.
Technology giants Facebook and Google have announced that their employees will be allowed to work from home by the end of the year.
Facebook provided employees with a $ 1,000 bonus ($ 1,416) for video calling devices, giving them the freedom to take time off.
On the other hand, Twitter announced that it will enable its employees to work at home forever.
This signals that the work will always be further away. Managers would have to trust employees to do their jobs and instead find a way to measure productivity at home.
What would change:
1. New rules in the office
Companies that can enable their employees to work entirely from home or telework must continue to do so. If they are unable, they would have to be closed.
When employees have to return to work, employers must ensure that measures are implemented. This includes reducing personal meetings, staggering working hours and sitting employees at a distance of at least 1 meter from other colleagues.
Photo credit: The New Yorker
Regular hand disinfection should be observed, table tops should be cleaned frequently and toilets should be disinfected frequently.
At the same time, we have to be prepared for less economic activity because we can get back to work because the pandemic has damaged the economy quite a bit.
It is reported that some companies in difficulty around the world reduce and pay working hours while some employees work longer than before while trying to get their business back on track.
2. A shift in healthcare
We have recognized the importance of digital health solutions in these challenging times.
Digital health apps have seen massive user growth. The use of telemedicine skyrocketed, eliminating visits from doctors and patients.
This online consultation and diagnosis has proven to be very practical as it delivers medication and the medical holiday receipt to your door.
Photo credit: Asia Nikkei
Devices such as digital stethoscopes, portable ECG monitors and digital otoscopes can also be managed at home and the results can be shared with doctors remotely. Such devices can become commonplace and shift the place of treatment to the patient.
After the pandemic ends, virtual doctor appointments can become a new norm as we practice social distancing to reduce the risk of infection.
3. New rules in schools
While schools in countries such as Denmark, Taiwan and China are reopening, employees measure the temperatures of the students at the door and children with a fever are sent home.
Photo credit: VietnamNet
In some schools, the playgrounds remain closed and the desks in the classrooms are spaced a safe distance apart. If possible, teachers teach outdoors and in small groups.
In Denmark, students have to wash their hands at regular intervals, while in Beijing, some students also receive personal thermometers and have to measure their temperature twice a day at school.
Schools also disinfect toys and classrooms twice a day to curb the spread of the virus. Students eat lunch while physically distancing themselves from each other.
Photo credit: Chen Jimin / China News Service via Getty Images
If schools in Singapore reopen after the breaker, it is very likely that they will take such measures. After all, children are more vulnerable and run the risk of becoming infected with the virus.
4. The extent of human interaction
Many personal counseling services have set up online counseling during a circuit breaker.
However, patients have expressed that the experience is simply not the same, adding that online counseling can never achieve the same results as personal counseling sessions.
While video conferencing has become a social platform for self-isolated people to connect with family and friends, they still lack the human touch we had before Covid-19.
Photo credit: HealthHub
We currently miss eating with friends, drinking coffee with colleagues, or even having a conversation with a friendly dog owner on the street.
The everyday moments from everyday life that we used to feel now feel like a luxury that people would like to have back.
After the breaker was raised, I can assume that we would no longer take social gatherings and invitations for granted.
5. Digitization Everything we can
If this pandemic taught us anything, that's it Our life (as it used to be) is not sustainable for our planet.
We had to be innovative and experiment with digital solutions, be it video calls for work meetings, home study for students, and virtual events instead of face-to-face conferences. These proved to be not only effective, but also an environmentally friendly way of working in a networked world.
Credit: Vulcan Post
We don't say that everything should go digital, but it makes sense to do everything digitally that is not more efficient in real life, if possible.
Telemedicine and digital health technology have already shown that they can do this. They just have to be adopted on a larger scale.
There is light at the end of the corona virus tunnel
Covid-19 showed us how people can quickly innovate and adapt existing technologies to survive.
It also gave us a wake-up call: not to take things for granted again.
We neglected personal hygiene, thought that freedom of travel is something we would not lose, and assumed that human interaction is a matter of course.
The Covid 19 saga will come to an end one day. We will go back to our usual life and enjoy walking the streets again, but life after Covid-19 will be significantly different.
Furthermore, reaching this point depends on our current actions.
We have to respect social distancing measures and reduce the spread of the virus. Only if we did that would we experience the world after the pandemic.
Selected image source: Unsplash / Barton Associates