Photo credit: Facebook/ Lee Hsien Loong

COVID-19 circuit breaker to extend until Jun 1 in Singapore: PM Lee

The circuit breaker is working, but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warns that we can't be complacent.

Nigel Chin

Published: 21 April 2020, 12:00 AM

The circuit breaker will extend by four weeks until Jun 1, announced Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Apr 21).

In his address to the nation, he said that the circuit breaker is starting to have an effect, with the number of community cases falling in recent days – a result of everyone in Singapore coming together to make sacrifices and adhering to the circuit breaker rules.

“But we cannot afford to be complacent. We must press on, to bring down daily infections more sharply, to single digit, or even zero. And to reduce the number of unlinked cases: Those we do not know how they got infected, or from whom,” PM Lee said.

“Because unfortunately that number of unlinked cases has not come down, and this suggests there is a larger, hidden reservoir of cases in the community; and this reservoir is the source of these unlinked cases, which we have not detected.”

Meanwhile, only the most essential service will remain open.

Exercising and buying of groceries can only be done alone outside of your own home, while entry restrictions will be imposed on some popular wet markets and supermarkets.

“Do your marketing on weekdays, rather than weekends. Don’t bring your whole family… When you run errands, return home straight away,” implored the Prime Minister.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong added that the restrictions to popular wet markets and supermarkets will be done via staggered entry on alternate days, based on IC number.

In light of the recent surge in cases among the migrant workers, PM Lee said the government will step up medical resources in dorms and deploy more medical staff there. He also added that most of the cases are mild.

“We will house the mild cases either on site, in a separate facility within the dorm, or in community care facilities elsewhere,” he said. “And we will make sure that those who need more active treatment receive immediate attention, and can be sent promptly to the hospital to help them recover.”

PM Lee added that for Singapore to exit the circuit breaker eventually, Singapore must do three things.

The first is to open Singapore up incrementally, ensuring that it is safe for each step of the way. He also pointed out that this is what New Zealand and Germany are beginning to do.

Secondly, Singapore will need to increase the number of tests for COVID-19, so that new cases can be found quickly. PM Lee said Singapore is beginning to do so by procuring test kits and equipment from other countries, as well as developing and manufacturing our own test kits.

The third is to make full use of technology to trace COVID-19 cases and their contacts.

“We have the TraceTogether app and we are currently developing other apps for this purpose. For these to work, we will need everyone’s cooperation to install and use these apps, like what the South Koreans have done,” PM Lee said.

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