'Even if I'm infected, it's my problem': Singaporeans infuriated by young people's comments on social distancing

PHOTO: Facebook/RiceMedia.co

Clarification: The quote in the headline belongs to an unidentified man in the Rice Media video and was not by any individual in the main photo.


Between snaking queues at Ikea, of all places, to crowds having "one last meal", it's safe to say that social distancing hasn't exactly been the top priority for some Singaporeans despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

But a

" target="_blank">Rice Media video published on April 6 which highlighted troubling attitudes towards social distancing still left many disappointed and infuriated.

In the video, a journalist hit the streets to speak to youngsters who were out and about, uncovering the following 'gems':

"It's a selfish thing to say but even if I'm infected, it's my problem. It's very personal, actually," one man asserted.

Another woman, who appeared to be in her 20s, shrugged off the risk of going out and visiting areas with virus clusters, saying: "Honestly speaking, those clusters would have been the safest place because they have been disinfected thoroughly. I think my house probably carries more risk than these places."

"If I really get it, then okay lor. Like, just get it and then recover (sic)," her companion, who also appeared to be in her 20s, said. "I'm confident that the healthcare system will help me recover in time."

Despite the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases and the looming "circuit breaker" shutdown, many Singaporeans were still...

Posted by Rice Media on Monday, April 6, 2020

The blasé attitude on display in the video soon triggered a wave of backlash, with most rightly pointing out that Covid-19 is hardly a "personal" problem — once a person is infected, he or she may transmit the virus to others, including those at a higher risk of complications.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook

Others also raised the issue of the strain that would be put on the healthcare system.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook

Social distancing measures including crowd control and spaced apart seating were introduced as early as March 14 in order to curb the spread of the virus.

Most recently, the government announced circuit breaker measures that kick in from today (April 7) to May 4 in response to the increase in local confirmed Covid-19 cases.

All non-essential businesses are closed, while schools will operate on a home-based learning system starting tomorrow.

"The spirit of these measures is to get all of us to minimise physical contact," said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. "If we don't go out, if we avoid contact with others, then the virus won't be able to spread. It is as simple as that."

Staying home is all the more important since recent studies have shown that asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus is possible. This means that those who are infected but not showing symptoms are able to unknowingly transmit the virus to others.

And precautions should be taken by all age groups.

ALSO READ: Young adults now make up largest group of coronavirus patients in Singapore

Contrary to popular belief, Covid-19 isn't just a disease of the elderly. 

Studies from the United States show that while those aged 65 and above do indeed have a higher fatality rate, young people are not invulnerable to the risks and complications that come with the virus.

kimberlylim@asiaone.com