COVID-19 In Singapore: A Timeline Of Triumph



COVID-19 In Singapore: A Timeline Of Triumph

STORY: Farhan Shafie
11 May 2020
Since the onset of COVID-19 in Singapore, there have been countless stories of everyday heroes who put the "extra" in the "ordinary". These are some of them.
Since the onset of COVID-19 in Singapore, there have been countless stories of everyday heroes who put the "extra" in the "ordinary". These are some of them.

It's been 110 days since our lives were turned upside down by COVID-19, or, to be precise, since a 66-year-old Chinese national (a man who had travelled from Wuhan) tested positive for COVID-19 in Singapore on 23 Jan 2020 - and became "Case 1".

But in spite of the social and economic upheaval, there have emerged tales of triumph and kindness that have continually restored our faith in humanity.

From inspiring healthcare workers to everyday heroes helping their community, we pay tribute to those who put the "extra" in the "ordinary", and chronicle the most heartwarming stories and key moments of the pandemic so far.


January 2020

23 Jan: The first COVID-19 patient in Singapore is confirmed. The 66-year-old (above, in mask) fights the virus in hospital for 28 days before being discharged on 19 Feb 2020. Mr Wang praised the medical staff at Singapore General Hospital for their professionalism and care: “Maybe it’s God’s will that I was in the good hands of the medical staff here. So I feel very glad to be discharged.”

Jan-Feb: (Above) The outbreak inspires some Singaporeans to share resources and perform kindnesses for each other: from giving away masks, to offering their homes as a collection point.


February 2020

Face masks

1 Feb: Over 5 million masks from the national stockpile are handed out by the Government (that works out to four masks per household), with advice to wear the masks only when unwell and visiting a doctor.


3 Feb: Eugene Lee and Ski Yeo (above), the husband-and-wife duo behind, create and release precautionary videos about the novel coronavirus in everyday Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew especially for seniors in Singapore who don't have a strong command of English or Mandarin. They follow up with more of such videos when circuit-breaker measures are announced.

7 Feb: The Ministry of Health raises Singapore's DORSCON level from Yellow to Orange after confirming a few new cases of the novel coronavirus infection without links to previous cases or travel history to China. Singaporeans step up the fight against COVID-19. Although some worry about supplies of everyday essentials (and begin panic-buying) and the safety of public transport, there is no cause for concern regarding either situation, the Government assures.

11 Feb:
 (Above) The coronavirus is officially named by the World Health Organization as SARS-CoV-2, and the virus causes the disease COVID-19. Referencing guidelines set in 2015, this move ensures the name of the disease does not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, while still being pronounceable and related to the disease. "Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising,” said Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

24 Feb:
(AboveRockNRojakSG, a group of talented, young musicians release the music video "Coro-NAH" to promote compassion and cleanliness.

26 Feb: Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) student Jacob Neo pens a song in two days called "Singapore, Unite As One" to show support for healthcare and frontline workers, and, together with some schoolmates and the help of teachers, creates an empowering music video.

29 Feb: Local businesses step up to lend their support behind frontline workers, from Grab offering a special transport service to restaurants providing discounts. Grapple MAX (above), a pro wrestling fitness school, holds a wrestling show to raise funds to benefit medical professionals, and streams it exclusively on Facebook live.

Photos: KFC Singapore

Feb-May: (Above) As a gesture of appreciation for healthcare and frontline workers, KFC carries out an initiative called #KFCCares, and hands out over 1,000 meals to doctors and nurses in isolation wards, telephone operators, pharmacy staff, and others at Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Raffles Hospital. Accompanying the meals were handwritten messages of gratitude in the shape of hearts. Kentucky Fried Chicken? More like, Keeping Frontliners Cheerful! 


March 2020


12 Mar: The World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Nevertheless, stories of triumph and the resilience of the human spirit continue emerging, with the father of one COVID-19 patient sharing his story, and a Singapore student recounting her race against against time and her harrowing return from the UK to Singapore.

Social Distancing

13 Mar: Safe distancing measures are announced. All ticketed cultural, sports and entertainment events with 250 participants or more are to be deferred or cancelled. Jonathan Smite, a Yale epidemiologist, writes a sobering article about the continued need for social distancing.

24 Mar: Safe-distancing measures are ramped up. All entertainment venues have to close, and restrictions are put in place at malls, museums and attractions while all religious gatherings are cancelled.

On 30 Mar 2020 at 8pm, Singaporeans across the island clapped from their windows and corridors, to show their appreciation to all those keeping Singapore safe and stocked during this COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you Martin Verga for getting this going. For getting us to Clap For #SGUnited 🇸🇬 We can get through this together! #clapforsgunited

Posted by SGWonderwall on Monday, 30 March 2020

30 Mar:
(Above) At 8pm, Singaporeans across the island clap from their windows and corridors, to show their appreciation to all those keeping Singapore safe and stocked during this COVID-19 pandemic. 


April 2020

6 Apr: (Above) Amid school closures, a group of Singaporean students starts a community service to provide free online tutoring support for primary and secondary school, and junior college students who do not have access to tuition services during COVID-19. Within a week, more than 1,400 volunteers signed up as tutors, and more than 180 students were matched with tutors.

7 Apr: (Above) The term "circuit breaker" is immortalised as Prime Minister announces a whole host of measures which will run from 7 Apr to 4 May. He assures that it is not a full-scale lockdown. However, only essential services can continue to keep their premises open, and all schools will close as students shift to home-based learning (HBL).

I was on my way back home, and I was minding my own business on the train. At a particular station, a boy wearing the...

Posted by Kelvin Ang on Monday, April 6, 2020

8 Apr: (Above) A touching moment between an SMRT staff and Pathlight student goes viral, capturing the hearts of a nation.

I haven't slept since the news broke 12 hours ago at midnight that yesterday's record breaking 280 out of 386 cases came...

Posted by Sudesna Roy Chowdhury on Monday, April 13, 2020

14 Apr:
 (Above) Sudesna Roy Chowdhury, a graduate of NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, builds an English-Bengali translation portal for medical teams treating migrant workers. She receives text messages and emails of gratitude from the healthcare community, some considering her website "a staple". One email read: "Your (website) will save lives… On behalf of Singapore, thank you."

While some of us may be in the comfort of our homes with our families, many of our foreign workers are battling fear of the unknown and isolation in the dormitories. Sometimes, all it takes when you are going through a crisis is for someone to assure you that they know what you are going through and are “here for you”. And that’s what our doctors and our medical team are doing at the dorms during this tumultuous period - not just to provide medical care but also reassurance and consolation to these foreign workers. We share with you this video of one of our doctors addressing the Bangladeshi foreign workers at the dormitory. A translation of his heartfelt message in English is provided below. It tugged at our heartstrings and we hope the workers felt it too. Stay home. Keep safe. ❤️ #SGUnited ---------------------- 𝑀𝑎𝑦 𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒? 𝐼 𝑎𝑚 𝐷𝑟. 𝑀𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑠𝑖𝑟 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑆𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑘𝑎𝑛𝑔 𝐺𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙 𝐻𝑜𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐼 𝑎𝑚 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑦 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑔𝑢𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑆𝑜 𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒, 𝑑𝑜 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑑. 𝐴𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑠𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐶𝑜𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑟𝑢𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑. 𝑈𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦, 𝑖𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑑𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑠 𝑡𝑜𝑜. 𝑆ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑏𝑒 𝑎𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑑? 𝐼 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑎𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑠 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑦 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑙𝑙. 𝑊𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ. 𝑁𝑜𝑤, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑑𝑜 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑡 𝑏𝑜𝑡ℎ 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑠. 𝐹𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑢𝑙𝑒𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑙𝑦: 1: 𝐴𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑘. 2: 𝑃𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑟𝑜𝑜𝑚𝑠 𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑑𝑜 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑔𝑜 𝑡𝑜 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑟𝑜𝑜𝑚𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑓𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑟𝑠. 3: 𝑃𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑛. 𝐾𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑏𝑒𝑑𝑠 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑛. 4: 𝑊𝑎𝑠ℎ 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑠𝑜𝑎𝑝 𝑎𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒, 𝑎𝑡 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑡 4 𝑡𝑜 5 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑎 𝑑𝑎𝑦. 5: 𝑇ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑑𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑝𝑟𝑎𝑦𝑒𝑟𝑠, 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑜 𝑎𝑛 𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑎𝑠ℎ 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑠 𝑓𝑟𝑒𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠. 𝐶𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑛𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑘𝑒𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑓𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒. 𝐴𝑙𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝑟𝑢𝑙𝑒𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑠𝑎𝑓𝑒 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛. 𝐼𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙 𝑢𝑛𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑙, 𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑠 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑒. 𝐷𝑜 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑎𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑎𝑠 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑝 𝑦𝑜𝑢. 𝑊𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢. 𝑌𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑆𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑒, 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑢𝑖𝑙𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑢𝑖𝑙𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑤𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑖𝑛, 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑢𝑖𝑙𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑜𝑎𝑑𝑠 𝑤𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑙 𝑢𝑝𝑜𝑛, 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑆𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑜𝑢𝑠. 𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢. 𝐵𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑔, 𝑏𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡, 𝑑𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑦 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠. 𝑊𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢. 𝑆𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑘𝑎𝑛𝑔 𝐺𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙 𝐻𝑜𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑖𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢. 𝑇ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑘 𝑦𝑜𝑢!

Posted by Sengkang General Hospital on Sunday, 19 April 2020

19 Apr:
(Above) Dr Muntasir from Sengkang General Hospital addresses Bangladeshi workers at the dormitory to reassure and console them.

Minister Visits SAF Medical Corps Deployed at Singapore Expo Community Care Facility

More than 100 personnel comprising Regulars, Full-time National Servicemen and NSmen from the SAF Medical Corps are deployed at the Community Care Facility at Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria. Over the last few days, they have supported the Ministry of Health, Singapore in providing primary healthcare services for recovering COVID-19 patients as well as those with mild symptoms who do not require significant medical care. Earlier today, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen visited the personnel deployed there and thanked them for supporting Singapore’s efforts against #COVID19. #SGUnited #SingaporeTogether #SeekSaveServe

Posted by Ministry of Defence, Singapore (MINDEF) on Thursday, 30 April 2020

22 Apr:
 (Above) 100 personnel including Regulars, Full-time National Servicemen and NSmen from the SAF Medical Corps are deployed at the Community Care Facility at Singapore Expo and Max Atria, looking after about 1,800 COVID-19 patients. Said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen: "If we take care of the patients in these community care facilities, it will give our hospitals a lot of space to take care of other patients... So we want to make sure that we continue to get the hospitals to also continue with their core functions."

Photo: 123RF

23 Apr: (Above) Muslims in Singapore kick off the fasting month of Ramadan like never before, staying at home amid extended CB measures.

A patient consulting the roving medical team at Tanjong Gul Camp.

Posted by Ministry of Defence, Singapore (MINDEF) on Wednesday, 6 May 2020

28 Apr:
The Singapore Armed Forces converts six camps across Singapore - Jurong, Bedok, Amoy Quee, Guillemard, Tanjong Gul (above) and Lim Chu Kang - into community recovery facilities (CRFs). These house about 3,000 recovering migrant workers with COVID-19, who remain well at Day 14 of the disease and do not require further medical care. Said Colonel (COL) Chua Jin Kiat, the task force commander of SAF-managed CRF camps: “This last step is to tell them: ‘Brother, you’re almost there. One more place, you’re cured and you can go back to work.’ And letting them know we will continue to take care of them.”


May 2020

1 May: (Above) This website pays tribute to and salutes all frontline, healthcare and migrant workers for keeping us safe and keeping Singapore going.

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected seniors more than any other age groups. I was therefore very happy to hear of...

Posted by Halimah Yacob on Saturday, 2 May 2020

1 May:
Singapore's oldest COVID-19 patient, 102-year-old Yap Lay Hong (above), is discharged. A resident of Lee Ah Mooi Home, she is also the mother of five, grandmother of 11 and great-grandmother of 13.

Happy nurses at CGH celebrating recovery of a COVID-19 patient

Happy nurses at Changi General Hospital Singapore celebrating the recovery of a COVID-19 patient 😄🎊🎉 #SGTogether #SGUnited #COVID19

Posted by Everyday SG on Thursday, 7 May 2020

8 May:
(Above) Triumphant nurses at Changi General Hospital Singapore celebrating the recovery of a COVID-19 patient.

8 May: Singapore billionaire Peter Lim (above, second from left) picks up the tab for $1 million worth of meals for around 20,000 frontline healthcare workers, prioritising housekeeping staff, patient care assistants and ambulance drivers. Even his daughter, socialite Kim Lim, has been handing out food at hospitals and foreign worker dormitories.

12 May: After over a month, Singapore eases tightened Covid-19 "circuit breaker measures".

We're getting there, Singapore. We're getting there.

For the latest updates on, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you have a story idea for us, email us at

TAGS: COVID-19 , Everyday Heroes , Inspiring Singaporeans , Singapore United , PEOPLE , We Are Singapore