As more local cases and new clusters emerged, Singapore has today decided to impose significantly stricter measures starting next Tuesday (Apr 7).
Likening it to a circuit breaker, the republic’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his remarks on the Covid-19 situation, said it would apply for one month, in the first instance.
“It will help reduce the risk of a big outbreak occurring and it should also help to gradually bring our numbers down. This, in turn, will then allow us to relax some of the measures,” he said.
As of noon Thursday, Singapore’s positive cases stood at 1,049, with 266 fully recovered while 23 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
During the one-month period, Lee said most workplaces will be closed, except for essential services and key economic sectors.
“Food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services will remain open. They are essential services,” he said.
“We also should not disrupt economic sectors that are strategic, or form part of a global supply chain. People working in these industries can continue to go to work, with safe-distancing measures in place,” he added.
The other stricter measures would see schools and institutes of higher learning to move to full home-based learning.
The republic had earlier started with one day of home-based learning this week.
According to Lee, Singapore will also tighten its restrictions on movements and gatherings of people.
“It boils down to three things. First, stay at home, as much as possible. Second, avoid socialising with others beyond your own household. Third, go out only to do essential things,” he said.
In his remarks, Lee also addressed the Malay/Islam community in Bahasa Melayu.
Lee said that he appreciated the sacrifices and big adjustments made by the community such as understanding why mosques had to be closed and postponing important gatherings such as wedding celebrations.
“As explained by the Mufti, the Muslim community needs to make big adjustments for the upcoming Ramadan and Syawal months. I am also disappointed about the absence of the Ramadan bazaar in Geylang Serai this year, but that cannot be avoided,” he said.
Lee also reassured the public that the situation was still under control, but shared his concerns about the probability of seeing higher number of cases.