The Government should focus on “tangibles” to help workers, companies and the country respectively in maintaining the capacities, capabilities and connectivity, instead of trying to forecast any particular set of statistics in light of the uncertainty over COVID-19 pandemic, says Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.
“We have a package of assistance schemes for our workers and companies. We must make sure that we execute this well and make adjustments as the situation evolves,” said Mr Chan on his Facebook post on Thursday (23 April).
He said that the Government will work with like-minded partners to maintain the connectivity to ensure the global supply chains to continue to flow without any impediment, which is their top priority to tackle with challenges of the global economy.
“Without which, the global capacity for food and essentials will be impacted,” he added.
Speaking on the Singapore’s medical situation of COVID-19, Mr Chan noted, “This is a long battle.”
Same as other many countries, he cautioned that the country may experience the high risk of recurring infection waves in the community if being careless.
He urged the people should not be complacent in the areas that are doing well and not be discouraged by the setbacks in other areas while should seeking to improve continuously.
“We should stay focused on overcoming the current challenges in the migrant workers’ dormitories, whilst closely watching the potential spread in the wider community even when the numbers seem stable and coming down,” he said in his post.
Stressing that migrant workers are also part of Singapore’s community, Mr Chan said the Government will take care of migrant workers community, including their health, security, livelihoods, wages and mental health as the migrant workers made Singapore’s success possible.
In response to the question on the Singapore’s goal in the coming month, he said, “First, we need to bring down to single-digit the daily new cases in the community. Second, to keep to a minimum the number of fatalities and serious cases, including ICU cases. Third, to make sure that the situation in the migrant worker dormitories is under control and the workers are well taken care of.”
As of 3pm today (24 April), Ministry of Health (MOH) has preliminarily confirmed an additional 897 cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore, where 13 cases involving Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore to 12,075.
“If we continue to make the right policies for the long term, conduct ourselves in a transparent way, we will stand out from the competition. Whilst we manage the current challenges, we need to keep an eye on the future and not forget to invest in new capabilities,” he concluded.
During the interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin on Thursday, Mr Chan noted that the country is “very likely” to see a sharper fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to the spreading of COVID-19 pandemic as well as the disruptions of supply chains and connectivity among the major economics.
However, he refused to quantify the falls when asked by the reporter, saying, “I think at this point in time, it’s not so useful to look at a precise number.”
He also mentioned that it’s too early to talk about releasing from circuit breaker on 1 June as the “calibrated measures” will continue to put in place to control the current situation and prevent the situation to be worse.
Touching on the General Election, he said, “Our energy is now entirely focused on tackling the crisis. As to when we should hold an election, that will be the prerogative of the Prime Minister.”