Surviving (suspected) H1N1

I became one of probably hundreds of patients who were hauled to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) in the past week for suspected Influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience, but I’m in a way glad I got to witness first hand the fight in the trenches against this viral illness.

The episode started with my 4-day business trip to Australia last week. When I returned on Monday evening, I had a little runny nose and sore throat so decided to head straight from the airport to my GP clinic, even though I had breezed through the thermal scanners at Changi Airport without incident.

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Reducing train frequency because of H1N1? That’s ridiculous!

According to CNA, SMRT said train frequency will be reduced by 30% once Singapore’s pandemic alert level hits red. This is because its service staff are divided into two teams to prevent the potential spread of the H1N1 virus.

This is the most ridiculous excuse I’ve heard to reduce train frequency! Does SMRT realise what’s going to happen if train frequency is reduced by 30%? Crowds will swell on the platforms and stations, and the trains will be packed even fuller with people (as if they aren’t already). That would surely be a formula for an even more rapid spread of the flu, should anyone of the 8 persons per square metre of train space happen to sneeze or cough.

I know many organisations, particularly government and government-linked ones, have plans to divide into two teams if the situation gets severe, but this is not something that essential services companies should do — or at least it should not affect their operations to such an extent.

Do you hear of Singapore Power, PUB and the police telling us that our electricity, water and security forces will be cut by 30% if the alert level hits red?

Nice try at cost-cutting, SMRT.