News: No to COVID standstill: Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong


No to COVID standstill: Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong

Is Singapore ready to ease COVID restrictions?
No to COVID standstill: Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is paving the way for the city-state to return to some semblance of normalcy despite the world's ongoing battle against COVID-19.

"We have to travel this road to get to living safely with COVID-19," the Prime Minister said. We want to get there with as few casualties as possible."

Singapore is set to ease a number of pandemic measures for communities once the weekly growth rate of COVID-19 cases falls below 1, the Multi-Ministry Task Force said, in a move that addresses the growing "frustration" of Singaporeans and is endorsed by the Prime Minister.

"Many of you have written to express your frustrations about the restrictions, while others have voiced concerns that we are opening up too fast! I fully understand how you feel," Lee said in a statement on social media.

"It has been a long journey, and the continuing uncertainty and disruption is hard on all of us. Some sectors – like [food and beverage] have had an exceptionally tough time," he said.

"But we can neither lockdown indefinitely and stand still, nor can we simply let go and let things rip."

COVID cases: Singapore's weekly growth rate

From a previous weekly growth ratio of 1.5 – in which case the COVID count was doubling in number – the rate of increase fell to "just above 1" last week, according to Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the task force.

The official expressed cautious optimism. "Cases are still increasing but at a slower rate. But because cases are still increasing, it's still resulting in pressures on our healthcare system," Wong said.

"If the ratio comes below 1 and our hospital and ICU situation remains stable, we will make some calibrated easing in three areas," he said.

Wong clarified how the new rules would allow fully vaccinated members of the same household to dine in at restaurants in groups of up to five. The same cap may also be imposed on team sports and educational activities.

This level of laxity towards COVID restrictions aims to enable people to achieve that semblance of normalcy that the Prime Minister is hoping for despite the onslaught of the pandemic. "These are calibrated moves where we assess the risk to be acceptable," Wong added.

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Topics: Leadership

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