Many supporters of the political parties had congregated at various locations across Singapore on the night when the General Election (GE) results were announced, which may have consequences on the number of COVID-19 cases, said the Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong on Friday (17 July).
Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce on the coronavirus, was asked during the virtual press conference yesterday on whether the Government is expecting a “pickup” in the number of infections following the crowds spotted at multiple locations on the night of GE.
In response, the Minister said he acknowledged the scenes of people gathering to celebrate the GE results and “ideally” they would have practised safe distancing but “the moment got the better of them” and they failed to meet some of the requirements.
“From the pictures I’ve seen, all of them were wearing masks. They may not have kept to the rule of five. And if we can find out who they are, and we have a means to, we might be able to identify and take them to task,” Mr Wong stated.
Although he noted there were “quite a number of them”, the Minister is uncertain of whether they had been in close contact for a long period of time.
“If you look at the numbers, there are quite a number of them, but if you look at the contact that they had, I’m not sure that they were in close contact for a very long time,” he remarked.
Consequences might occur due to the safe-distancing lapses by individuals, Mr Wong hinted.
“It comes down to the basic point: any time there are lapses, by any individuals, there will be a consequence, potentially,” said the Minister.
He reiterated that those who think it’s okay to neglect the safe distancing measures will put themselves and the “whole country” at risk.
“Unfortunately, this appears to have happened in that particular incident, and I would imagine it would not be the end of it. There will be many other incidents where lapses do occur,” Mr Wong asserted.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong – who also present in the virtual press conference – cautioned that Singapore must be prepared for the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“We must be prepared for a second wave too, but we must do our best to avoid it if we can,” said Mr Gan, adding that there are “useful lessons” from the situation in other countries.
He further noted, “That is why here in Singapore, we have taken a cautious approach in easing restrictions for some activities that we know to be of higher risk.”
Netizens question Minister Lawrence Wong, “What was the point of calling the GE at this time?”
However, many netizens questioned the Government’s motives of holding the GE in the middle of a pandemic despite knowing the consequences that it might have in the number of COVID-19 infections.
They penned their thoughts under the comment section of the Channels News Asia’s (CNA) Facebook video – which covered the virtual press conference – asking Mr Wong, “what was the point of calling the GE at this time”.
While others asked about the long queues of people at the polling stations during the GE with no safe distancing measures, adding that the busses and MRT were also congested.