Singapore must be “patient” and “resolute” in carrying out the “circuit-breaker” measures to slow down the rate of new infections in the country, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Fri (10 Apr).
Citing a phone call with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thu, Mr Lee in a video posted on his Facebook page today said that according to Ms Ardern, New Zealand had begun to see a reduction in the number of new cases on the 11th day of its “stringent lockdown“.
“So we have to be patient, but we also have to be resolute,” said Mr Lee. “If we all reduce our contact with one another, we also reduce our chances of catching or transmitting the virus. This will slow down new infections, both linked and unlinked, and after a while the number of new cases will fall.”
He added that countries such as China and South Korea which have “all adopted similar tough measures after a surge in infections” have also observed a reduction in the number of new infections.
“This is why I need each of you to take the circuit breaker very seriously. Stay at home, stop socialising in person with others, even with extended family members who do not live with you. Keep in touch with them but by other means, for example online, on the phone, writing emails or even letters.
“But do not make physical contact, because that is how the virus is spread. Please comply not just with the letter of the rules, but their spirit,” urged Mr Lee.
Elderly people in particular must stay home, higher risk of mortality if infected with COVID-19: PM Lee
Mr Lee also made “a special appeal” to elderly Singaporeans, who are among people of the age group most susceptible to developing complications if infected with COVID-19.
“I am one of you, so I know how you feel. When we are cooped up at home, we get restless and frustrated. We want to meet our friends, visit our grandchildren, stretch our legs, and resume our familiar routines – qigong sessions, karaoke groups, hanging out for kopi or a beer with friends.
“But please understand. We are telling you to stay at home for your own safety. Older people are more vulnerable to the virus. If we catch COVID-19, it is a serious matter.
“Our chances of dying are much higher, and if we get infected and spread the virus to our friends around our age, or bring the virus back home to our families, then, we put them in grave danger,” said Mr Lee.
He urged the elderly to spend more time with their famiilies or to watch their favourite television programmes.
“If you need anything from outside, ask others to get it for you … If you have really no choice but to go out for food or necessities, make sure you wear a mask, and stay a safe distance away from everyone else,” Mr Lee added.
Mr Lee acknowledged that while the new measures might be tough and inconvenient for many, he warned that the “circuit breaker will fail” if there are people who do not comply.
“If some of us fail to comply strictly with the measures, the circuit breaker will fail, then all our inconvenience, pain and sacrifice will have been in vain … It only takes a few people to let down their guard, and the virus will slip through. We need everyone to play their part,” he stressed.