The circuit breaker measures implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus infection will be extended by another month until 1 June, with the existing measures to be tightened, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his fourth national address on the COVID-19 situation here.
Circuit Breaker Period Extended By Four More Weeks To 1 June
Mr Lee said more workplaces will be closed and that they will reduce further the number of workers keeping essential services going to minimise the risks of transmission among the workers.
He also said entry restrictions on some hotspots, such as popular wet markets will be imposed as “large groups of people continue to gather at these places, making it hard to practise safe distancing.”
According to the prime minister, while the circuit breaker measures are beginning to have an effect and the number of community cases has fallen in recent days, Singapore “cannot afford to be complacent,” and must “press on o bring down daily infections more sharply, to a single-digit, or even zero.”
Mr Lee also highlighted the number of unlinked cases has not come down, which suggests “a larger, hidden reservoir” of COVID-19 cases in the community.
“This reservoir is the source of these unlinked cases, which we have not detected,” said Mr Lee.
Circuit Breaker Period Extended Until 1 June: Singaporeans have been mandated to wear masks when they step out of their homes since 14 April. | Image source: Stock
PM Lee Urges Singaporeans To Do Their Part
He also reminded the public that it is “not just about adhering to the letter of the law. The spirit of the guidelines is to reduce movement to a minimum, and to avoid being out and about in the community,” he said.
Mr Lee urged everyone to do their part.
“We have called on all Singaporeans to stay home. Go out only for essential needs, like buying food or groceries,” Mr Lee said. “Otherwise, please stay at home.” He also suggested doing marketing on weekdays rather than weekends and not bringing your whole family when going out for grocery shopping.
But the prime minister also acknowledged that “many will be disappointed by the extension of the circuit breaker, especially our business and workers, who are hurting greatly.”
“I hope you understand that this short-term pain is to stamp out the virus, protect the health and safety of our loved ones, and allow us to revive our economy,” he said.
Singapore is 15 days into its one-month circuit breaker period implemented on 7 April, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Circuit Breaker Period Extended: All schools in Singapore have shifted to full home-based learning since the implementation of the “circuit breaker” measures. | Image source: iStock
Since then, all preschools and childcare services were suspended and have been ordered to offer limited services to a limited group of parents who are unable to find alternative care arrangements, such as those working in essential services like healthcare.
All schools have also shifted to full home-based learning.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (21 April), education minister Ong Ye Kung said the extension of circuit breaker measures “will have implications on education.” The Ministry of Education will be announcing its plan on Tuesday evening at 9pm.
Education minister Ong Ye Kung said the Ministry of Education (MOE) will be announcing plans for the education system in Singapore following the extension of the circuit breaker measures to 1 June. | Image source: Ong Ye Kung/Facebook
Circuit Breaker Period Extended: How Do We Exit From The Circuit Breaker?
On how Singapore can exit from the circuit breaker, Mr Lee stressed that the country has to take things one step at a time: first, by opening up incrementally, in small steps, to make sure that people are safe.
“Second, we need to scale up testing for COVID-19 substantially, so that we can quickly detect any new cases that pop up,” Mr Lee added.
Mr Lee said Singapore will also need to make full use of IT, “so that when it discovers COVID-19 cases, we can trace more efficiently where people have been, and whom they have been in contact with.”
Update on New Cases
On Tuesday (21 April), Singapore reported 1,111 new cases of COVID-19 infection bringing the total number of cases here to 9,125.
While the vast majority of the new cases announced are those involving foreign workers in dormitories, there are still some cases involving Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR). Of the new cases reported today, 20 are Singaporeans or PRs.
In addition, several coronavirus cases involving children have been reported in the past week. At least nine children, aged 1 to 13, were reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 since 16 April.
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