Is this time going to be more serious? – Wuhan Virus and SARS

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) started in China in November 2002 and peaked in the first half of 2003. I remember my team and I were involved in the temperature taking of students in 2003. We started with using thermometers to measure body temperature and ended with thermal scanner technology. We had developed a routine for this some 17 years ago.

Now China had this Wuhan Virus, a strain of Novel Coronavirus (nCov), that started towards the end of 2019. History is repeating itself after SARS.

Is this time going to be more serious?

One great comfort is that China and the world are taking notice of the potential disease pandemic at the early stage of the Wuhan Virus outbreak. The SARS experience in 2002/2003 is helping nations to combat the spread of this virus round the globe. Singapore has the protocols and contingency plans to see us through this dreadful virus. I remember Mr Khaw Boon Wan was the face of the government combating SARS. I still remember him asking the nation to “always wash our hands” in Hokkien (常常洗手).The current government and the hospitals have the past experiences to guide them.

Let’s hope that the Wuhan Virus does not get out of control. There will be inconveniences as we go about in our daily lives. Personal hygiene is key to prevent the spread of the virus. People have to take responsibilities for their own health and the health of others around us.

SARS started to tail off towards the second half of 2003. Let’s hope this time round it could be shorter. Panic is not the way to go.

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