Singapore’s political leader said at a Tuesday press conference that so-called “circuit breaker measures” to halt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic would be in place until June 1.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pictured) said: “We will extend the circuit breaker for four more weeks, beyond the 4th of May, in other words, to the 1st of June.”
He said the steps were difficult for the community but necessary. Such measures included the continued closure of non-essential businesses and application of social distancing rules so that people went out “only for essential needs, like buying food”. The country’s two casino businesses had been categorised by the government earlier in the crisis as non-essential enterprises.
Mr Lee’s comments on the extension of the anti-coronavirus measures came on Tuesday, after the city-state had announced more than 2,500 new cases of Covid-19 infection over a two-day period.
In a follow-up press conference, Singapore’s National Development Minister, Lawrence Wong Shyun Tsai, said the government would “close more workplaces and tighten the list of essential services that are permitted” to operate. “We will do this by making cuts across all sectors of the economy but also on businesses that are consumer facing, including food and beverage and other services,” said Mr Wong.
He added: “We will continue with the circuit breaker for another four weeks, until June 1st. Depending on how the situation evolves, we will adjust the measures and if there are clear improvements in our community transmission numbers – for example community numbers coming down to single digits – then we can consider gradually easing some of these measures.”
GGRAsia has approached Singapore’s two casino resorts – Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp, and Resorts World Sentosa, run by Genting Singapore Ltd – to ask whether that will mean the casinos will also remain shuttered until then.
On April 6 the city-state’s Ministry of Health had said in a written announcement that the two casino sites were to be closed for a period of four weeks, from April 7 to May 4 inclusive, as the government stepped up its efforts to contain the further spread of the Covid-19 disease in Singapore.
Mr Lee said on Tuesday that it appeared from the new cases in the country there was a remaining “reservoir” of Covid-19 infection. The city’s political leader said that to exit from the circuit breaker, Singapore needed “to do three things”.
“First, we must open up incrementally, in small steps, making sure that we are safe each step of the way … Second, we need to scale up testing for Covid-19, substantially … Third, we will need to make full use of information technology so that when we discover Covid-19 cases, we can trace much more efficiently where they have been and whom they have been in contact with,” stated Mr Lee.
A Tuesday statement from the Ministry of Health said that as of 12pm that day, the authorities had preliminarily confirmed an additional 1,111 cases of Covid-19 infection in Singapore,” the vast majority of them involving “work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories”. An aggregate of 20 cases were Singaporeans or Singapore permanent residents.
The ministry said the latest cases took the tally of Singapore’s recorded infections to 9,125.
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