ST PHOTO: Desmond Wee

A collective of front-line fighters in the ongoing battle against Covid-19 have been named as The Straits Times Singaporeans of the Year 2020. They are: Prof Leo Yee Sin, executive director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID); Prof Ooi Eng Eong, co-developer of Singapore’s sole Sars-CoV-2 vaccine currently in human trials; Mr Nigel Quek, commanding officer at Certis’ Integrated Quarantine Order Services; Mr Abdul Wahab, a nurse clinician in the intensive care unit at NCID; and Mr Benson Ng, who signed up to be a swabber for Covid-19 tests after his 58-year-old father was diagnosed with the disease in March last year. 

“Amid the challenging Covid-19 environment, many have stepped up to help others in greater need, from migrant workers, to the underprivileged, to covid-19 patients. The eight finalists of this year’s award exemplify this same selfless spirit we are celebrating today,” said President Halimah Yacob, the guest of honour and patron of the award, at a ceremony at the Istana on February 1, 2021.

Last year, Prof Leo was also named as Her World’s Women of the Year 2020, for her clinical leadership and contributions to Singapore’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Covid-19 has united us and we have emerged stronger. The battle is not over yet but we have each other’s strength and shoulder to rely on,” said Prof Leo in The Straits Times report.

“There are still a lot of unknowns about the disease, such as post-Covid-19 syndrome and reports of re-infections. We don’t know whether the virus will evolve and how the evolutions will affect us… We have to continue researching and studying this,” she added.