Seeing how the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is rising in Singapore, with 32 new cases reported yesterday (19 March), the President of Singapore, Halimah Yacob, expressed her concerns in regards to the pandemic on her official Facebook page.
President Halimah started off her statement by reminding people that COVID-19 is a huge threat, and that contamination is picking up rapidly in other parts of Asia. The number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore had been on the rise and imported cases will continue to be a concern.
“The battle is not over. Although China has remarkably succeeded in containing its rate of transmission and deaths, the epicentre is now in Europe and the US is also seeing an alarming increase. The contamination is also picking up rapidly in other parts of Asia. So looks like we’ve not reached the peak yet in the transmission of this disease and imported cases will continue to be a concern for Singapore,” she wrote.
To gather the people to unite and work together as a way to combat COVID-19, President Halimah urged everyone to stay vigilant without allowing complacency to get in the way of handling this issue. She explained that the government is doing its best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 without having to implement a complete lockdown.
Understanding that a complete lockdown will impose great impact socially and economically, President Halimah reminded everyone that the success of the government’s approach also depends on everyone’s effort in maintaining high levels of hygiene and practising social distancing.
“We must continue to stay vigilant and not allow complacency to creep in. This can happen all too easily if we get carried away with the many accolades, which are no doubt well deserved, that we’ve received over our handling of this virus and which may lull us into a false sense of security,” she noted in the post.
Although the advice gets repetitive as it was mentioned by many, President Halimah did not forget to urge everyone to wash hands regularly, visit a doctor, and stay at home if unwell, while practising other measures of social distancing. She had also advised companies to allow employees to work from home in order to reduce interactions at public spaces.
“Washing our hands regularly, visiting a doctor and staying at home if we are unwell, avoiding large gatherings or organising one, avoiding shaking of hands, looking out for timely information from MOH and complying with quarantine or stay at home orders. Companies could also do more to allow their workers to telecommute to minimise interactions on public transport and at the workplace,” she remarked.
Pressing further on the severity of COVID-19, President Halimah stated that the current pandemic is the biggest health threat in the world since the Spanish Flu in 1918. Despite arising concerns and worries among Singaporeans, President Halimah concluded her statement that we will be able to overcome the challenge.
“I understand the concerns of Singaporeans. We don’t know how long it will last. We worry for our loved ones and its economic impact on jobs and businesses. The Govt is coming out with a second assistance package to help individuals and businesses which will provide more relief. We’ve survived many challenges. We’ll overcome this too,” she wrote.
Previously on 11 March, President Halimah addressed that many Singaporean companies, particularly related to the tourism industry as well as other sectors, are impacted due to disrupted supply chains, rapidly falling demand and tightening of cash flows. She stated the government will consider utilising the Past Reserves if necessary to help deal with the economic impact caused by COVID-19.