The country’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) is to remain at level Orange until the situation in the rest of the world improves.
This was announced by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Monday (5 October) as he responded to a question on whether the government intends to review the DORSCON Level given the reduction in the number of daily local cases recently, to as low as one or two a week on average.
Singapore’s DORSCON level has been at Orange—the second highest level, just below Red—since 7 February following a significant spike in unlinked COVID-19 cases then.
According to Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines, level Orange means that the disease is severe and is spreading easily from person to person but is contained and has yet to spread widely in nationwide. At this level, MOH notes that there is moderate disruption to daily life due to temperate screenings, quarantine orders and restrictions at medical institutions.
At Red, the nature of the disease is considered severe and spreading widely within the country. At this level, the MOH predicts major disruptions such as school and office closures as well as a significant number of deaths.
Conversely, level Yellow means the disease is spreading easily from person to person but is occurring outside of Singapore, or if it is within Singapore, the disease is either mild or being well contained, with minor disruptions to daily life.
In his statement, Mr Gan also noted that the DORSCON level isn’t solely dependent on the number of new cases being reported daily, instead it is also based on how the situation is unfolding beyond Singapore’s borders.
“At this moment particularly, we have to be very mindful that while the number of cases in Singapore is low, the cases around us in other parts of the world are still rising. So therefore we cannot let our guard down. I would continue to maintain DORSCON Orange for the time being until we’re quite confident that the global situation is under control,” said the Health Minister, who co-chairs the Multi Ministerial Task Force on the virus.
Though he highlighted the need to reopen borders to encourage travel in order to avoid undermining the Singapore’s status as a travel and business hub, he cautioned that “until the world is safe, we will not be safe.”
“Therefore we have to continue to maintain the DORSCON level and keep our guard up so that we can continue to keep the number of cases low, especially in the community,” added Mr Gan.