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疫情当道,新加坡是否应该重开国门?

疫情当道,新加坡是否应该重开国门?

Devadas Krishnadas 2021年11月04日
新加坡的重新开放可能会对其作为全球模范城市的地位带来不确定性。

图片来源:JOSEPH NAIR—NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

新加坡民众一直在期待该国政府解除当前的防疫限制。然而,由于担心医疗保健系统会出现不堪重负的风险,10月20日,新加坡政府决定将原定于10月24日解除的防疫限制再延长一个月,其中包括对社交聚会的限制以及强制居家办公的要求。

有关这一数据的详尽分析显示,很大一部分需要急症护理的病患属于那些可以接种但未接种新冠疫苗的人群,而这些人群仅占总人口的6%,其中的高危人群都是老年人。因此,新加坡人也想知道,为什么防疫举措偏向了少数人群,而这些人的选择将为整个国家带来巨大的外部效应。

新加坡未来的道路并不平坦。在国内,新加坡正在试图决定到底是依靠政策“好言相劝”,例如要求未接种人群支付其自身的医疗成本或强制接种,还是通过不断延长的防疫限制继续在困境中徘徊。然而,这座城市也正在尝试面向国际旅行和活动开放其国界。

各类政府声明,比如总理李显龙在10月9日发表的演讲,都表达了向“与病毒共存”这种生活方式转变的愿望。这样,这个城邦国家便能够面向国内和国际重新开放。在李显龙发表演讲之后,新加坡政府又针对那些出现轻度或无症状患者发布了“居家康复计划”(Home Recovery Programme),并在已有的两个国家之外新增了8个可以享受“已接种游客旅行通道”(Vaccinated Travel Lanes)的国家。

像总理这个级别的政府领袖的明确表态十分重要。当新冠肺炎病例的激增迫使卫生部门重新强制实施一些社交隔离限制时,包括本人在内的一些观察家认为,这类政策转变说明新加坡政府对于其新冠疫情策略没有多少把握。包括彭博社(Bloomberg)和《纽约时报》(New York Times)在内的外国媒体则认为,新加坡政府内部存在分歧。

新加坡因为其实用主义而闻名,安全、周密的重新开放有助于巩固这一声誉,但上述政策的变化可能会为其带来些许负面影响。这座城市长期以来一直都是经济和社会发展成功学领域的研究案例,而且其对自由贸易的投入可谓无人能及,同时也是东西方开展贸易的首选战略合作伙伴。

这些成就源于该国政府效力和高效的公共管理,也造就了新加坡在这一方面的良好声誉。世界其他地区在羡慕新加坡的同时还将其视作有关优秀政府治国有方的教科书。

然而,残酷的事实在于,尽管新加坡的生存之道在于紧跟全球经济形势,但全球经济在没有新加坡的情况下依然可以欣欣向荣。随着世界各国开始思考新冠疫情后的格局,新加坡需要制定一套灵活的策略,来确保其在全球经济中的现有地位。

此外,新加坡也有望继续成为其他国家和政府学习的榜样。李显龙总理的演讲虽然针对的是本国民众,但也折射了国际社会:国际商界、资本市场和战略合作伙伴与“新加坡故事”的延续息息相关。

因此,新加坡如何管理新冠疫情不仅关乎本国,同时还涉及大量的海外利益相关方。

由于最初的新冠肺炎病例数量较低,新加坡政策一开始被国际社会誉为新冠疫情管理的“金科玉律”。然而,随着新冠疫情横扫人口众多的移民工人宿舍,事态急转直下,新加坡政府在此之后实施了长达7周的禁令,美其名曰“熔断机制”。新加坡还颁布了旅行限制令;那些已经离开新加坡的民众无法轻易返回新加坡,因为该国政府担心他们会将新冠病毒带回国内。

这一控制新冠病毒传播的策略奏效了:社区病例在2020年下半年大幅下降。

然而这一举措亦有其代价。

新加坡的经济经历了独立之后最严重的萧条,尽管实施了略多于1000亿新加坡元的财政刺激,但其经济依然下滑了5.8%。今年9月,新加坡政府自1970年之后首次宣布新加坡人口出现了4.1%的负增长,主要归咎于新冠疫情期间非居民数量的减少。

作为一项逆周期举措,新加坡在2020年引入了前所未有的五项预算,旨在于经济支持和刺激领域投入1000多亿新加坡元。

尽管新加坡的新冠疫苗接种因为供应的限制而在一开始进展缓慢,但该计划在近期开始加速,人口的完全接种率达到了84%。然而,每日新增的新冠肺炎病例数量却有所增长,致使该国政府多次进入“高度警戒状态”,并限制就餐人数,同时强制企业默认采取居家办公的安排。最大的问题在于,重症监护室使用率如今在79%至84%之间波动。目前,新加坡正在为30岁以上人士进行新冠疫苗的加强接种。

很明显,继续执行2020年的防控策略是难以为继的。德尔塔变种病毒的传染性要强得多,因此防控的难度也要大很多。激进的防控策略会带来诸多社会和经济成本,受影响最严重的莫过于占据其公司总数99%、雇佣其73%居民的中小企业。此外,具有讽刺意味的是,新加坡在接种方面的成功意味着该国能够用于加强防护的手段已经是寥寥无几。

新加坡并非是唯一一个考虑开放国界的国家。我们的邻居马来西亚已经接纳了“与病毒共存”的策略,为消除国内和国际旅行的障碍铺平了道路。尽管澳大利亚也有着异常严格的禁旅令,有时候甚至连本国公民都无法入境,但它如今也承诺到11月面向国际旅行开放。以旅游为经济支柱的泰国正在探索通过各种方式吸引游客回归。

新加坡向来以其先见之明、大胆的举措、进行艰难抉择、在危机中的韧性,以及最为重要的品质——实用主义,而著称。新加坡将有机会利用重新开放策略告诉整个世界,这个国家依然还是如此。否则,世人可能会在不经意间看到一个不一样的新加坡:一个优柔寡断、缺乏远见和勇气的新加坡。(财富中文网)

德瓦达斯·克里希纳达斯是Future-Moves Group的创始人及首席执行官,这是一家总部位于新加坡的管理咨询公司。他此前曾经是新加坡政府的一名政策官员,还著有《应对新冠疫情:领袖和决策者们的战略手册》(Confronting COVID-19: A Strategic Playbook for Leaders and Decision Makers)一书。

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

新加坡民众一直在期待该国政府解除当前的防疫限制。然而,由于担心医疗保健系统会出现不堪重负的风险,10月20日,新加坡政府决定将原定于10月24日解除的防疫限制再延长一个月,其中包括对社交聚会的限制以及强制居家办公的要求。

有关这一数据的详尽分析显示,很大一部分需要急症护理的病患属于那些可以接种但未接种新冠疫苗的人群,而这些人群仅占总人口的6%,其中的高危人群都是老年人。因此,新加坡人也想知道,为什么防疫举措偏向了少数人群,而这些人的选择将为整个国家带来巨大的外部效应。

新加坡未来的道路并不平坦。在国内,新加坡正在试图决定到底是依靠政策“好言相劝”,例如要求未接种人群支付其自身的医疗成本或强制接种,还是通过不断延长的防疫限制继续在困境中徘徊。然而,这座城市也正在尝试面向国际旅行和活动开放其国界。

各类政府声明,比如总理李显龙在10月9日发表的演讲,都表达了向“与病毒共存”这种生活方式转变的愿望。这样,这个城邦国家便能够面向国内和国际重新开放。在李显龙发表演讲之后,新加坡政府又针对那些出现轻度或无症状患者发布了“居家康复计划”(Home Recovery Programme),并在已有的两个国家之外新增了8个可以享受“已接种游客旅行通道”(Vaccinated Travel Lanes)的国家。

像总理这个级别的政府领袖的明确表态十分重要。当新冠肺炎病例的激增迫使卫生部门重新强制实施一些社交隔离限制时,包括本人在内的一些观察家认为,这类政策转变说明新加坡政府对于其新冠疫情策略没有多少把握。包括彭博社(Bloomberg)和《纽约时报》(New York Times)在内的外国媒体则认为,新加坡政府内部存在分歧。

新加坡因为其实用主义而闻名,安全、周密的重新开放有助于巩固这一声誉,但上述政策的变化可能会为其带来些许负面影响。这座城市长期以来一直都是经济和社会发展成功学领域的研究案例,而且其对自由贸易的投入可谓无人能及,同时也是东西方开展贸易的首选战略合作伙伴。

这些成就源于该国政府效力和高效的公共管理,也造就了新加坡在这一方面的良好声誉。世界其他地区在羡慕新加坡的同时还将其视作有关优秀政府治国有方的教科书。

然而,残酷的事实在于,尽管新加坡的生存之道在于紧跟全球经济形势,但全球经济在没有新加坡的情况下依然可以欣欣向荣。随着世界各国开始思考新冠疫情后的格局,新加坡需要制定一套灵活的策略,来确保其在全球经济中的现有地位。

此外,新加坡也有望继续成为其他国家和政府学习的榜样。李显龙总理的演讲虽然针对的是本国民众,但也折射了国际社会:国际商界、资本市场和战略合作伙伴与“新加坡故事”的延续息息相关。

因此,新加坡如何管理新冠疫情不仅关乎本国,同时还涉及大量的海外利益相关方。

由于最初的新冠肺炎病例数量较低,新加坡政策一开始被国际社会誉为新冠疫情管理的“金科玉律”。然而,随着新冠疫情横扫人口众多的移民工人宿舍,事态急转直下,新加坡政府在此之后实施了长达7周的禁令,美其名曰“熔断机制”。新加坡还颁布了旅行限制令;那些已经离开新加坡的民众无法轻易返回新加坡,因为该国政府担心他们会将新冠病毒带回国内。

这一控制新冠病毒传播的策略奏效了:社区病例在2020年下半年大幅下降。

然而这一举措亦有其代价。

新加坡的经济经历了独立之后最严重的萧条,尽管实施了略多于1000亿新加坡元的财政刺激,但其经济依然下滑了5.8%。今年9月,新加坡政府自1970年之后首次宣布新加坡人口出现了4.1%的负增长,主要归咎于新冠疫情期间非居民数量的减少。

作为一项逆周期举措,新加坡在2020年引入了前所未有的五项预算,旨在于经济支持和刺激领域投入1000多亿新加坡元。

尽管新加坡的新冠疫苗接种因为供应的限制而在一开始进展缓慢,但该计划在近期开始加速,人口的完全接种率达到了84%。然而,每日新增的新冠肺炎病例数量却有所增长,致使该国政府多次进入“高度警戒状态”,并限制就餐人数,同时强制企业默认采取居家办公的安排。最大的问题在于,重症监护室使用率如今在79%至84%之间波动。目前,新加坡正在为30岁以上人士进行新冠疫苗的加强接种。

很明显,继续执行2020年的防控策略是难以为继的。德尔塔变种病毒的传染性要强得多,因此防控的难度也要大很多。激进的防控策略会带来诸多社会和经济成本,受影响最严重的莫过于占据其公司总数99%、雇佣其73%居民的中小企业。此外,具有讽刺意味的是,新加坡在接种方面的成功意味着该国能够用于加强防护的手段已经是寥寥无几。

新加坡并非是唯一一个考虑开放国界的国家。我们的邻居马来西亚已经接纳了“与病毒共存”的策略,为消除国内和国际旅行的障碍铺平了道路。尽管澳大利亚也有着异常严格的禁旅令,有时候甚至连本国公民都无法入境,但它如今也承诺到11月面向国际旅行开放。以旅游为经济支柱的泰国正在探索通过各种方式吸引游客回归。

新加坡向来以其先见之明、大胆的举措、进行艰难抉择、在危机中的韧性,以及最为重要的品质——实用主义,而著称。新加坡将有机会利用重新开放策略告诉整个世界,这个国家依然还是如此。否则,世人可能会在不经意间看到一个不一样的新加坡:一个优柔寡断、缺乏远见和勇气的新加坡。(财富中文网)

德瓦达斯·克里希纳达斯是Future-Moves Group的创始人及首席执行官,这是一家总部位于新加坡的管理咨询公司。他此前曾经是新加坡政府的一名政策官员,还著有《应对新冠疫情:领袖和决策者们的战略手册》(Confronting COVID-19: A Strategic Playbook for Leaders and Decision Makers)一书。

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Singaporeans were looking forward to the lifting of current restrictions, originally due to end on Oct. 24. Instead, on Oct. 20, the government decided to extend restrictions—such as constraints on social gatherings and mandating work from home—by an additional month, citing the potential strain on health care capacity.

A close analysis of the data shows that a significant proportion of the cases that require acute care come from the 6% of the population who are unvaccinated despite being eligible, the most vulnerable portion of whom are seniors. Thus, Singaporeans are asking why they are being held hostage by a minority, whose choice is placing a huge externality on the rest of the nation.

Singapore has a tough path to tread. Domestically, it is trying to determine whether it will rely on policy “nudges”—such as requiring the unvaccinated to pay their own health care costs or mandating vaccination—or stutter in limbo with ever-extending restrictions. Yet the city is also trying to open its borders to international travel and events.

Government statements, like the speech delivered by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Oct. 9, show the desire to pivot to a “living with the virus” approach that allows the city-state to reopen domestically and internationally. Lee’s speech was followed by the announcement of a Home Recovery Programme for those with mild or no symptoms and the opening up of eight more countries to “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” in addition to the two already activated.

The clarity from leaders like the prime minister is important. When a surge in COVID cases had prompted health authorities to reimpose some social distancing restrictions, some observers—including me—argued that these policy shifts showed a city government unsure of its COVID strategy. Foreign outlets including Bloomberg and the New York Times suggested there were divisions in the government.

Singapore’s reputation as a pragmatic nation—which may be floundering a little in the wake of its policy shifts—will be bolstered by a safe and well thought out reopening. The city has long been a case study for economic and social success, with an unrivaled commitment to free trade, and is the go-to strategic partner for trade between East and West.

These achievements were built upon and helped to build a reputation for effective government and efficient public administration. The rest of the world not only looks upon Singapore with envy, and for lessons learned, but as an example of what good government can achieve.

Yet the unforgiving truth is that while Singapore survives based on its relevance to the global economy, the global economy can thrive without Singapore. As the world begins to consider what a post-pandemic world looks like, the city needs a deft strategy to ensure it keeps its place in the global economy.

And, perhaps, Singapore will sustain its status as a role model for other nations and governments. The prime minister’s speech, meant for a domestic audience, has global repercussions: The international business community, capital markets, and strategic partners have a stake in the continuity of the “Singapore Story.”

How Singapore manages the COVID-19 pandemic thus matters both for its own sake, and for so many other stakeholders beyond its shores.

Singapore was originally held up internationally as the “gold standard” in managing COVID owing to its initial low case numbers. Yet matters took a nosedive as the pandemic swept through crowded migrant worker dormitories, a development that was followed by a seven-week lockdown, euphemistically called a “circuit breaker.” Singapore also instituted travel restrictions; those who left were not allowed to return to Singapore easily, for fear they would import the virus.

This containment strategy to limit the transmissibility of the virus worked: Community cases plunged in the latter half of 2020.

But it had consequences.

Singapore’s economy endured its deepest recession in its independent history, with a contraction of 5.8% despite a fiscal stimulus of just over 100 billion Singapore dollars. And in September of this year, the government announced that, for the first time since 1970, Singapore’s population had shrunk, by 4.1%, largely due to a drop in nonresidents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore introduced an unprecedented five budgets in 2020, with more than 100 billion Singapore dollars in economic support and stimulus as countercyclical measures.

Despite a slow start owing to limited supply, Singapore’s vaccination program has picked up the pace recently, reaching an 84% full vaccination rate as of publication. Yet daily case numbers have risen, leading to multiple episodes of “Heightened Alerts,” with restrictions on numbers of those dining out and the imposition of default work-from-home arrangements for businesses. Of greatest concern is the fact that ICU occupancy now fluctuates between 79% and 84%. Singapore is now rolling out booster shots for all above the age of 30.

Clearly, keeping with the 2020 containment strategy was unsustainable. The Delta variant is far more transmissible, making it much more difficult to contain. The aggressive containment strategy had several social and economic costs, especially on the small- and medium-size enterprises that make up 99% of its firms and employ 73% of its residents. And finally, Singapore’s vaccination success ironically means little room left to expand protection.

Singapore is not the only country considering ways to open up. Our neighbor Malaysia has just embraced a strategy of “living with the virus,” setting out a path to remove barriers to intrastate and international travel. Australia—with travel restrictions so tough that even its own citizens couldn’t enter at times—has now pledged an aggressive strategy of opening to international travel by November. Thailand, dependent on tourists for its economy, is exploring ways to let visitors back into the country.

Singapore built its reputation on being farsighted, taking bold steps, making hard choices, resiliency in the face of crisis, and, above all, pragmatism. Singapore’s reopening strategy would be an opportunity to show that this reputation remains intact. Or it may inadvertently show the world a different Singapore: one that is indecisive, lacking both foresight and fortitude.

Devadas Krishnadas is founder and CEO of the Future-Moves Group, a Singapore-based management consultancy. He was previously a policy official with the Singapore government. He is also the author of Confronting COVID-19: A Strategic Playbook for Leaders and Decision Makers.

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