The implications of Viral Outbreaks for Travel, Work, and Study

The implications of COVID-19 and other viral outbreaks for the travel, work, and education sectors are great. As governments implement lockdowns or restrictions of various kinds and seal their borders against airport and seaport arrivals from affected countries, these three sectors are immensely affected. Populations in affected countries become housebound as the authorities are forced to implement such a stringent measure to protect the wider citizenry, resulting in a massive disruption of life.

The Government of the Republic of Singapore has advised those intending to travel to defer all non-essential travel to Mainland China. Those who have recently travelled to China are advised to take a leave of absence. Guidelines have also been given for those intending to go overseas. Public transportation should also be avoided, if possible. And, as the death toll in China has escalated, the New York Times has reported that in China, “The government has sealed off more cities, canceled public gatherings and shut down schools.”

Interestingly, also, The Strait Times in Singapore has reported that a business conference held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore is associated with five cases of the coronavirus in three countries. The event was held over three days and those who contracted the virus were suspected to have done so through the sharing of a buffet meal. Bearing in mind that a buffet is usually the style of serving meals at outside workshops and seminars, one should be abundantly cautious about these events at this time and try to avoid them, if possible.

In a separate publication, The Strait Times also reported on February 12 that there had been three additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Singapore, which brought the total number there to 50. Two of the three persons attended separate branches of the Grace Assembly of God, one in Tanglin and the other in Bukit Batok. The third person is an employee of DBS Bank in the Marina Bay Financial Centre. All three persons are Singaporeans with either no recent travel or no history of travel to China. These cases further highlight the risk involved in public group assemblies and the need to avoid travelling and group assembly to the maximum extent possible.

COVID-19 has brought to the fore the value of an online environment for both work and study, a typical example being demonstrated in an article that can be found here. Many students worldwide study outside of their native countries in a brick and mortar classroom setting; many study at home in a similar setting. Usually, however, a viral outbreak is no respecter of countries. eLearning provides immunity against barriers to entering another country to study as well as against the lockdown of local transportation and education sectors for any cause. With eLearning, one can acquire a complete education that is recognized worldwide from several globally renowned educational institutions, all in the comfort of their own home, on a flexible schedule.

Let us all, out of an abundance of caution, take the steps prescribed by our various governments to ensure the early slowdown and eventual cessation of COVID-19.