Who's essential right now? Medicos, of course. Food producers, natch. And in Singapore social media workers have made the list

The spicy memes must flow even under new ‘circuit breaker’ corona-crackdown

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Singapore has explicitly singled out social media workers as essential contributors to the city state’s economy as it goes into a new phase of coronavirus-crimping precautions.

The city-state’s response to the pandemic was generally hailed as among the world’s best, but as it eased restrictions things took a turn for the worse. The nation has therefore now closed its schools and imposed new social isolation rules.

Those new rules include a new list of occupations that remain permitted to go about their business outside their homes. Singapore’s list, as is common around the world, includes health workers, those who produce or distribute food, and IT workers whose efforts keep critical comms and payments infrastructure humming.

Singapore’s list also includes “Social media and messaging platforms”. The list also includes those working on ride hailing, food delivery, groceries, and online payments.

It’s not hard to guess why: Singapore was an earlier adopter of WhatsApp in its pandemic prevention efforts and its populace are heavy social media users. Exempting workers from lockdown is therefore a way to help the nation continue to communicate with its citizens, and citizens communicate with each other!

The country has also added a new twist to its app-powered contact tracing effort, by asking citizens to both use the app and keep receipts from taxi rides for at least a month. That cellulose source of information is seen as providing useful additional evidence to track outbreaks. ®

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