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Why Singapore’s COVID-19 deaths are the lowest in the world


John Geddie

Aradhana Aravindan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore has the lowest number of coronavirus deaths globally, with just 27 deaths among the more than 57,000 people infected with COVID-19 on the Southeast Asian island.

FILE PHOTO: People cross a street at the Orchard Road shopping district in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore June 19, 2020. REUTERS / Edgar Su / File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Students wearing protective face masks are read in class at the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore on June 2, 2020. REUTERS / Edgar Su / File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Workers wipe down doors at a railway station during the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore on August 17, 2020. REUTERS / Edgar Su / File Photo

According to 0.05%, Singapore’s deaths are well below the global average of around 3%, according to data compiled by Reuters from countries that have registered more than 1,000 cases. A comparison with countries with similar populations shows a strong difference – Denmark’s mortality is about 3%, while Finland’s is about 4%. tmsnrt.rs/2RxksJF

Furthermore, no one has died from the disease in Singapore for more than two months, according to its Ministry of Health. The country’s leading disease experts said that the following are the main factors behind the phenomenon:


About 95% of Singapore’s COVID-19 infections are among migrant workers, mostly in their 20s or 30s, who live in cramped dormitories and are employed in labor-intensive sectors such as construction and shipbuilding.

While disease parameters continue to be studied as the pandemic develops, current global trends suggest that its impact has been less severe for younger people, many of whom have few or no symptoms.


Singapore has succeeded in mitigating the spread of the virus through early detection with aggressive contact tracing and testing, which was praised by the World Health Organization (WHO). [nL8N2AE2OU]

According to official figures, it has swept almost 900,000 people, more than 15% of the population of 5.7 million, one of the highest prices per capita globally.

Dormitory residents have been put on a planned test regimen, authorities have conducted mass testing among vulnerable communities such as nursing homes, and anyone over 13 with signs of acute respiratory infection is offered a free test.

“The more we diagnose, the lower the mortality rate,” said Hsu Li Yang of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore.


Preventive approaches have also been applied to treatment. COVID-19 patients over the age of 45 or with underlying conditions that make them vulnerable are cared for in hospitals even if they are otherwise well, doctors say.

“Our care is conventional but managed well; fluid management, anticoagulation and both proven drugs and participation in drug trials, says Dale Fisher, senior consultant at Singapore National University Hospital.

Singapore was already a medical tourist center for Southeast Asia with many private hospitals and high-quality public care facilities. It also built up bed space for coronavirus patients in cavernous exhibition halls and other temporary facilities to house them with mild or no symptoms.

This prevented the healthcare system from being overwhelmed so that attention and resources could be focused on the more serious cases, doctors say. Singapore currently has no COVID-19 patients in intensive care, while 42 are admitted to hospitals and a further 490 in temporary facilities.


The city government made masks mandatory in public in April. While experts have said that more studies need to be done, there is growing evidence that wearing masks helps reduce the incidence and severity of the virus. The WHO has recommended the use of masks in combination with other social distancing measures.

“We have adopted a good mask culture in Singapore. This makes the disease milder, says Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious expert at the city’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital.


Singapore adheres to WHO’s case definition for the classification of COVID-19 deaths. It does not include non-pneumonia-related deaths such as those caused by blood or heart problems among COVID-19 patients in its official speech.

“I have no doubt that if the WHO revises its case definitions, some of the non-pneumonia deaths will be reclassified and mortality will change,” said Paul Tambyah, president of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, without specifying how likely it is. would move.

The Ministry of Health has said that its approach is in line with international practice, although some countries such as the UK have taken wider bills. NUH’s Fisher said any changes from reclassifications in Singapore would be marginal.

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