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Photo credit: Youth.SG/Adawiyah Adam

Workplace closure, full home-based learning, and no more eating out to curb spread of COVID-19

A host of stricter measures were introduced to reduce risk of a big outbreak occurring.

Nigel Chin
Nigel Chin

Published: 3 April 2020, 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced stricter measures, termed “circuit breakers”, for the next month in light of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

The measures are necessary to reduce the risk of a big outbreak occurring, and gradually bring the number of cases down, he said.

In his speech on Friday (Apr 3), PM Lee said that 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.

Effective from Wednesday, Singapore will move to full home-based learning in our schools and institutes of higher learning. All pre-school and student care centres will also be closed. However, limited services will be provided for children of parents who have to continue working and are not able to make alternative care arrangements.

Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung added that all mid-year examinations are cancelled as well. However, national exams, such as PSLE, O-Levels and A-Levels, are considered essential and will carry on, with appropriate measures to be taken.

PM Lee also urged all Singapore residents to stay at home as much as possible. Restrictions on movements and gatherings of people will be tightened. Gatherings should be confined to only households, and visitation of extended families – especially the elderly or vulnerable – who do not stay in the same home should be avoided.

Residents should only head out when it is essential, such as buying food, or exercising in the neighbourhood. Even then, safe distancing should be practiced.

He added that additional support for households and businesses will be announced in Parliament on Monday by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing announced that all supermarkets, wet markets, hawker centres and food establishments will remain open. However, dining in at the establishments will not be allowed, with only takeaways permitted. Food delivery services will continue.

Resuable masks will be distributed to households in Singapore too. Mask distribution will begin on 10am Sunday, till April 12. Residents will be able to collect their masks from 3pm to 9pm on weekdays, and 10am to 9pm on public holidays and weekends.

 

 

Reactions

“School closure is something that we as parents have to handle. Yes, it will be difficult as a working parent but it is for my child and our family’s safety. It really didn’t matter what measures the PM was going to announce today because if we are not practicing it, then we have ourselves to blame. Come on Singapore, we have to do this together.” – Eudora Tan, 32, parent of a pre-school child.

“I feel that the home-based learning experience for schools and shutting down of most businesses is definitely the right move to make. Personally, I feel that how effective the new measures are boils down to whether people chooses to follow all the rules diligently.

“Considering how the situation escalated in the recent weeks despite having such stringent safe distancing measures, the new measures won’t really put a stop to the situation, it will at most alleviate it. At the same time, while food outlets are necessary, I think strictly only takeaway would definitely help.” – Lim Yi Xuan, 18, student.

“I am not shocked to [hear about these measures] as other countries have already started implementing [similar measures] so it is a matter of time that we do the same. These measures will help reduce contact between people.

I think implementing these measures wouldn’t have much impact on the economy as people are still able to go on with their life with technology. Most Singaporeans are already prepared for these measures. My schools are having exams online and attending classes at home is not a bad thing as it helps me saves travelling time. As a citizen, I will just do my part to adapt to the changes. After all, they are not implementing the changes to make things difficult for us, but rather, for the safety of our health.” – Cheryl Low, 24, undergraduate


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