250,000 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with most frontline and essential workers having been inoculated already, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his Chinese New Year message this year.
PM Lee acknowledged that festivities will be a little more subdued this year due to social distancing requirements and restrictions, and said that it is “more important than ever to show our appreciation to our family members”.
He went on to highlight that it has been the Government’s “top priority” to protect the Singapore people, especially seniors.
“We have gone all out to control the spread of the virus, treat the infected, and prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, even at great economic cost,” said PM Lee.
“Because of this tremendous effort, our COVID-19 situation has now stabilised. We have avoided the disastrous outbreaks and the enormous pain and suffering experienced by many other countries. We have restarted most of our economy, and are cautiously resuming cross-border travel.”
He went on to express his thanks to the people for their continued support amid the tough restrictions that have been implemented.
“COVID-19 has forced us to scale down 2 and adapt our family gatherings and New Year visits. We can still gather, provided we receive no more than eight visitors per day to our homes. Our own visits should be to at most two other households daily, and only to relatives, said PM Lee.
“These stricter measures are necessary as the virus is still spreading rapidly around the world,” he added.
PM Lee went on to talk about the vaccines which are now available in Singapore, noting: “Provided vaccine supplies come in as scheduled, we should be able to offer vaccinations to our whole population within this year,” adding that the vaccination of seniors over 70 have also commenced.
He then encouraged everyone to take the vaccine when their time comes, so as to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“Furthermore, if enough of us are vaccinated, our population will have herd immunity,” said PM Lee.
However, he cautioned that Singapore is “not there yet”, as he urged everyone to continue adhering to safe distancing precautions, even those who have been inoculated.
PM Lee concluded his speech by calling for everyone to express their appreciation to the essential workers who are “making personal sacrifices to keep Singapore going during this festive period”, including healthcare workers, transport staff, cleaners, migrant workers, delivery riders, and more.
He also penned his appreciation to friends of other races who would be covering for their Chinese colleagues during this festive period.
President Halimah Yacob also urged Singaporeans to get vaccinated in her CNY message
A similar call for people to get vaccinated was heard in President Halimah Yacob’s Chinese New Year message on Wednesday (10 Feb) as well.
Madam Halimah said that Singapore is entering the Year of the Ox with a “greater sense of hope and optimism” because the country now has the vaccine to combat the coronavirus.
However, she cautioned that getting the vaccine is only one part of the equation, adding that what is of equal importance is to make sure that everyone is vaccinated.
“The response has been encouraging but we can do even better. So please get vaccinated to protect yourselves and your loved ones,” urged Madam Halimah.