Being Prepared for a Pandemic

Learn more about how Singapore is prepared to prevent & respond to disease outbreaks.

27 Dec 2019

A pandemic is an outbreak resulting in the spread of an infectious disease worldwide. It usually occurs when the whole population has no immunity to the disease, which is more common when there have been no cases in the community before. Pandemics can be caused by different diseases, ranging from the mild to the very severe.

It is hard to predict when a pandemic may strike Singapore. In the last decade, we have experienced two pandemics:

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003

  • H1N1 influenza in 2009

These have taught us important lessons on how to plan a national response.

The ‘Disease Outbreak Response System Condition’, or DORSCON (see Table 1 below), is a colour-coded framework that shows you the current disease situation. It also demonstrates what needs to be done to prevent and reduce the impact of infections. 

DORSCON takes into account both disease severity and spread to predict the impact on the community. Our risk assessment for DORSCON includes:

  • The current disease situation overseas

  • How transmissible the disease is

  • How likely it is to arrive in Singapore

  • What impact it may have on the local community

dorscon tableTable 1: DORSCON table