The Government is considering whether additional restrictions and safeguards are needed to keep COVID-19 infections under control ahead of Chinese New Year in February, when more intermingling is expected, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (19 January).

Mr Wong, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce, was speaking to the media on Tuesday along with his taskforce co-chair Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at an interview to mark one year of COVID-19 in Singapore.

In response to a question of whether there would be rules for New Year visits, the Minister said that such a festive season would potentially lead to an increased amount of intermingling and interaction “as has happened over the end of the year during the festive period”.

“Therefore, we are considering now whether or not there might be additional restrictions and safeguards that might be necessary to keep infections under control,” he noted.

“Exactly what they are, whether they pertain to house visitations, what kinds of measures – we are still studying, and when we are ready, we will highlight them,” said Mr Wong.

The Ministers also thanked the people for their efforts and co-operation in fighting against the coronavirus, adding that it helped handled a crisis and keep community cases at low, as reported by The Straits Times.

Though Mr Wong noted that the country is in a stronger position now to tackle the virus, he warned the situation remains highly unpredictable, given that the virus is still spreading globally.

“Despite all the precautions we can put, all the measures we can put, nothing will ever be watertight,” he remarked.

As long as there is a weakness in any line of defence – such as someone feels ill but doesn’t see the doctor – it can easily end up with superspreader event and lead to clusters emerging, said the Minister.

“Then we have to run around chasing the virus all over again, like what happened at the beginning of last year,” he added.

Mr Wong stressed that Singapore must remain vigilant, continuously update and review safety measures.

“Yes, we can see the end in sight because we have a vaccination in place, we have a plan to get everyone vaccinated by the third quarter of this year.

“But between now and [then], there are many months and many things can happen during this period, so let’s stay alert,” he noted.

Netizens urge Govt to tighten Singapore’s border control instead, given high number of imported cases

Penning their thoughts under the comment section of ST’s Facebook post on the matter, many netizens noted that the Government should instead tighten the country’s border control, as the number of imported cases is higher than community cases.

Others commented that Singaporeans are “forced” to face the consequences of the Government’s move to allowing more foreigners to enter the city-state.

They opined that the imported cases are the “main cause” of the increasing number of community cases in Singapore.

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