The recent spike in COVID-19 community cases has forced Singapore to be “effectively back” in Phase Two, but co-chair of Multi-Ministry Taskforce Lawrence Wong stressed that it is “not a circuit breaker”.
In a press conference on Tuesday (4 May), Mr Wong announced that the Government will impose new measures to curb the local transmission of COVID-19, beginning from 8 May to 30 May.
The new measures include the reduction of permissible group size in social gatherings, from eight persons to five persons. This also applies to households, which will be able to receive only five distinct visitors a day.
In addition, more employees will be required to work from home, with only 50 per cent of employees who are able to work from home are allowed to return to the workplace.
Other measures also include the closure of indoor gyms and testing requirements for worship services and cinemas with more than 100 attendees. Capacity will be reduced at attractions, libraries, tours, and MICE events.
While Mr Wong confirmed that the country has returned to its Phase Two of reopening, he further clarified that it is “not a circuit breaker”.
“We certainly hope not to have to invoke another circuit breaker,” he remarked.
“But we have proposed quite a stringent and tight set of measures, so that we can respond robustly and pre-emptively to the latest outbreak of clusters and do our best to snuff them out early, and reduce the likelihood of having to impose more drastic measures down the road.”
Singapore exited from a two-month long “circuit breaker” in June last year. The country subsequently entered Phase Two on 19 June, and proceeded to Phase Three in December.
After months of reporting single-digit of COVID-19 community cases, the city-state started seeing double-digit figures daily in months on 29 April, with 16 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, a sharp increase from just three cases the day before.
“But let’s try our best to avoid that scenario, and let’s all do our part first, to, as I said, comply with the new measures, the latest set of measures, and do it not just by following the letter of the law, but do it in the spirit of it,” said Mr Wong.
“So do our best to minimise our social interactions and activities and stay home as much as possible. That will certainly help reduce the chances of new cases emerging,” he added.
Over on social media, many netizens took to CNA’s Facebook post, noting that such a situation could have been avoided if the Government had earlier closed the borders to countries with the highest infection rates, such as India.
They stressed that the people of Singapore have been complying with the restrictions all along but the Government has been “complacent”.