There have been about 5.93 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine given out to the citizens here in Singapore. Roughly about 4.6m million citizens have been fully vaccinated, which is about 80% percent. Many countries responded to the pandemic by imposing lockdown or restricting movement for ports. Some ports remained open but have reduced the workforce and space capacity for incoming cargo and containers. However, trucking services from Malaysia did not cease operations. This is because Singapore imports about 37 percent of its poultry products from Malaysia. Though trucking services did not cease operations, there was still a risk that there would be a reduction in imported goods delivered from Malaysia.
There are many reasons why cargo drivers are important to Singaporeans because Singapore imports over 90 percent of their food due to limited land available for agriculture. Meaning we rely primarily on food supplies from external sources. Some suppliers of food would be China, Malaysia and Indonesia. In 2016, Singapore was Australia’s 10th biggest market for beverages, food and so on. Before importing any food, the Singapore Food Agency inspects and tests all produce items. All trucks coming into Singapore have to undergo inspection when requested by the agency. Failure to do so results in enforcement actions.
There are Malaysia trucking companies that offer shipping services from Malaysia to Singapore. Some commonly shipped items are as listed:
- Precious metals
- Mineral fuels like oil
- Plastic, steel or iron products
- Electronic goods and equipment
These items shipped are most likely for companies used in the making and manufacturing of their products. There are many procedures for shipping parcel Malaysia. For example, determining whether items are controlled or restricted, registering with an agency and for a GIRO account, providing security, getting a import permit and clearing cargo by submitting all necessary documents.
Covid-19 infections are increasing in Malaysia, with close to 15,000 new infections reported on average each day. That is at least 92 percent of its peak, the highest that has been reported. There have been about 800,000 infections and close to 6,000 Covid-19 related deaths reported in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
As of July 4, 2021, the Malaysian state of Selangor had around 260 thousand Covid-19 confirmed cases, the highest in the country. Selangor is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of Covid-19 in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Johor Bahru is having their 3rd highest number of Covid-19 cases which stands at about 72,000. As we know that Malaysia has one of the highest numbers of exports to Singapore, it is important that we must ensure the safety of our people as they might come in contact with a cargo driver.
Covid-19 infections are seen decreasing in Singapore, with 11 new infections reported on average each day. This is at least 1 percent of its peak, the highest that has been reported. There have been about 62,000 infections and 36 Covid-19 related deaths reported in Singapore since the Covid-19 pandemic began. As the numbers are going down and keep control, we must continue to stay vigilant and cautious since our neighbouring countries’ Covid-19 cases are spiking daily.
There are individuals who have been tested positive for Covid-19 from antigen rapid tests. It accurately recognises Covid-19 infection in an average of 72 percent of individuals with symptoms, compared to 58 percent of individuals without any indications. Tests were most accurate when it was utilized in a week after side effects were originally noticed. However these tests are no100 percent accurate. In late January 2021, the Singapore government made it compulsory for cargo drivers entering to take a Covid-19 antigen rapid test (ART). The antigen test is a method of detecting any active infection with SARS or Covid-19. The test is performed the normal way which is by swabbing the inside of your nose, but the results will be available in about 15 minutes and lasts about 24 hours. This new requirement is to strengthen Singapore’s border control to manage the risk of imported cases.
To further minimise the risk of transmission from cargo drivers, Singapore is offering the Covid-19 vaccination to regular cargo drivers. People who are not vaccinated are allowed to continue entering Singapore but have to do on-arrival testing. The vaccination will also be given to any accompanying personnel who come with their cargo drivers. The vaccination sites for the cargo drivers are located near the checkpoints to make it more convenient for them. People who have received the vaccination cards from Singapore, may use it at the land checkpoints to skip the antigen rapid test (ART).
Cargo drivers who are fully vaccinated stated that it was more convenient for them to travel through the checkpoints as they do not need to take any on-arrival tests. They said that they felt more safe now due to the vaccination they had taken. Some believe that the effort taken to reduce the risk of infection and spread is a good one.
Overall, cargo drivers are important to Singapore as most of our food produce is being imported in. The Singapore government and/or companies who import materials will have to work with trucking services from Malaysia to ensure that there would not be any problems. Not only will the delivery Malaysia be fruits, vegetables and meat, they can also contain parcels from Singapore citizens. The parcels can be from online shopping or from relatives that live in Malaysia. There will be some drivers that are not willing to vaccinate themselves due to certain circumstances or religious beliefs. For Singapore, It is certainly cheaper and more cost-effective to take the vaccine rather than conducting swab tests and antigen rapid tests frequently. It is also to help combat the risk of another Covid-19 cluster in Singapore. Not only does the vaccination help us, it will also help the cargo drivers from Malaysia to feel safer as they are often traveling back and forth and are meeting many different people.