In announcing its strictest measures to date, to fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the multi-ministry taskforce on Tuesday (24 March) said gatherings outside school and work will be limited to a maximum of 10 people from Thursday at 11.59 pm to 30 April 2020.
The duration of the stricter measures may also be extended if the situation does not improve here, the task force added.
Stricter measures as country enters new phase in fight against COVID-19
In a statement on Tuesday evening, the task force said all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes will be suspended to reduce the intermingling of students from different schools and enhance the safety of students.
In addition, the task force said it will also close all entertainment venues such as night clubs, discos, cinemas, theatres, and karaoke outlets, where there is a high risk of transmission due to sustained close contact over a period of time.
Other public venues such as retail malls, museums and attractions, where contact is more transient, may remain open as long as the reduce crowd density.
All religious services will also be suspended.
All events and mass gatherings must be deferred or cancelled, regardless of size, the task force added. "This is a tightening of the previous requirement where all events and gatherings were to be limited to fewer than 250 participants."
Suspension of activities for seniors will also be extended until Apr 30.
49 new COVID-19 cases, including 32 imported
The measures come as more new cases are being reported here. On Tuesday evening, 49 new Covid-19 cases were reported, including 32 imported cases. This brings the total of cases here to 558. Of the 17 local cases announced, 13 are currently not linked to previous cases. Contact tracing is being conducted.
At a press conference, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the measures are pre-emptive but come at a time of real risk.
"All over the world, millions of people are living in a different reality. Workplaces are closed, shops are empty, roads are empty, everyone is asked to stay home," he said. "We are not experiencing this in Singapore yet, but we cannot be complacent."
He said the risk of local transmission here will rise despite efforts to isolate imported cases. "So we have to take seriously the measures to protect our family members and the people around us," he said.