To understand how to effectively manage communications during this global pandemic, we need to take a look back at past experiences with outbreaks.
Back in 2003, Singapore experienced the SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak. It started in February 2003 with a young woman infected while travelling abroad. Her return to Singapore set off the spread of the SARS virus to 238 people, 33 of whom died. It was a global epidemic involving 20 other countries. Singapore managed to contain the virus in May 2003.
During that time, just like today, the speed of the outbreak and the amount of information (or misinformation) made it terrifying and challenging to manage. What we are seeing in this COVID-19 outbreak is panic buying in many cities worldwide when information is unclear, delayed or misinterpreted by the public.