Photo Credit: TODAY Online

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the latest COVID-19 outbreak is expected to last much longer than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, which took four months to be completely eradicated from Singapore.

He also added that COVID-19 will result to a greater impact on the economy of the country. However, PM Lee asserted that “life has to go on” and the people of Singapore have to proceed to make a living.

“SARS took us from March when we had our first cases, until July before we were declared clear and that was, I think very fast. I expect it not to be so fast this time,” PM Lee said to the media on Friday (14 February) after meeting a number of frontline staff at Changi Airport.

Given that China’s economy is much larger and interconnected with Singapore and the region now as opposed to the situation in 2003, Mr Lee noted that the impact of the outbreak on the country’s economy will be more significant as it is a “very intense outbreak”.

He also noted that there’s a chance of a “possible” recession and the economic impact on Singapore as of now is already showing to be much worse than SARS.

While speaking to a group of frontline staff, including airline crew and sales workers at retail stores, at Changi Airport, PM Lee pointed out that the airport had been “substantially impacted”.

“The flights are down by a third, the shops here are hard hit, and at the same time the crews have to keep the airport running and stay at their posts and keep Singapore open for business”, he said.

He explained that new developments are happening on a daily basis and the Government is making a decision on what is the right thing to do at each particular point.

“So we have to calibrate and judge as we go on each step, what is the most prudent thing to do. Err on the side of caution, but make a sensible judgment. And that’s what we’re trying,” he noted.

The deadly novel coronavirus, now named as COVID-19, first surfaced in the city of Wuhan, and has spread to over 28 countries, including Singapore. To date, the virus has claimed the lives of nearly 1,500 people, mainly in China, and infected more than 65,000 individuals globally.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed and verified eight more additional cases in the Republic, bringing the total number 58. This is the highest number recorded outside of China.

However, PM Lee asserted that the higher number of confirmed cases in Singapore is due to the country’s size and thorough checks by the health authorities.

Although it is understandable for certain countries to issue travel advisories against Singapore, but PM Lee said that they should not make “knee-jerk” decisions to escalate their warning to a complete ban solely due to the numbers.

But he noted that the situation is very different for countries with bigger land space or larger amount of rural areas.

“It is not so easy to track what’s happening in that country so the reported cases and the developments, there may be some lag before things become known,” he pointed out.

As such, PM Lee said that this possibility should be highlighted to other countries so they will be able to make well-informed decision based on facts before issuing a travel advisory or even a ban on Singapore.

“To go beyond (a travel advisory), while we will make our case very clearly to the other countries that ‘This is a real situation, please make a sound scientific and medical judgment. Don’t just act on a knee jerk, based on somebody’s headline,’” expressed Mr Lee.

Upon being questioned on more clusters being identified in the country, PM Lee said that this does not mean widespread community transmission because most of the cases are still traceable to a particular source.

“So we will have to watch the trend, how the trend goes, whether the numbers go up and also whether the cases are traceable and we can continue to do contact tracing and then squeeze out the clusters one by one,” he said.

Earlier on 23 January, PM Lee said that the Wuhan coronavirus does not appear to be as lethal as SARS, and urged the public to remain calm.

“It looks like this virus is not as lethal as SARS, but you do not know. It can mutate. We have to be as prepared as we can,” he expressed.

He added that the Government was “doing what we need to do”, and urged the public to take necessary precautions and reminded them not to panic.

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

MOM introduces new rules making it easier for employers to transfer their domestic helpers to other households

Starting this Wednesday (20 May), employers will be benefit from an easier…

SCGS Nomination Day Videos

by Joshua Chiang PAP Supporters cheering PAP’s candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC…

新加坡等国不愿被迫选边站 李显龙:亚洲前景取决中美能否克服分歧

我国总理李显龙,在最新一期的《外交》杂志,发表题为《濒危的亚洲世纪– 中国、美国以及对峙的危险》评论。 有关文章探讨中美关系对亚洲的影响,也提及许多亚洲经济体都与中美两国有关联。李显龙认为,许多国家包括新加坡,都不愿被逼迫两者之间选边站。 他指出,中美做出的战略选择,会形塑全球秩序的轮廓。“大国之间相互竞争是自然的。不过他们之间的协作能力才是治国之道的真正考验。这将决定人类在诸如气候暖化、核扩散、疾病传播等全球性议题上,能否取得进展。” 李显龙不忘提起,当前的冠状病毒19疫情,就足以提醒各国相互协作的重要。 “疾病不认国界,当前迫切需要国际间的合作来控制疫情,减低对全球经济的伤害。”但他坦言,即便假设中美两国关系最好状态,要协调对疫情的集体行动仍是很大的挑战。 他指出,亚洲国家目前已全神贯注解决眼下的疫情危机和挑战,以协助改善国人生活,打造更安全和繁荣的区域。 “它们的成功以及亚洲世纪的前景,取决于中美能否克服分歧,建立互信和有建设性地努力,以维护稳定与和平的国际秩序。这是我们这个时代的根本问题。”

数据外泄频发 总理公署设委会检讨公共机构网安

随着数宗网络数据外泄事件的发生,政府决定设立高级别专门委员会,更全面地检讨公共机构目前采取的数据安全及保护措施。 总理公署于3月31日发文告,宣布以上消息。 文告中指出,这项由李显龙总理号召,于昨天傍晚宣布成立的“公共机构数据安全检讨委员会”(Public Sector Data Security Review Committee),将全面检讨由机构、供应商和授权第三方所收集和保护的数据措施,包括各政府单位的人民资料收集和保护,以及外聘公司进行资料处理的程序等,并提出建议。 该委员会将提出有关技术、措施和能力的相关建议,以改善政府在保护公民数据和应对事的能力,并制定在近期行动计划,建议政府应该采取的措施,和长期的实施方案。 委员会主席为也是公共部门数据治理(Public Sector Data…