Singapore — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hopes that “positive results” from the more stringent circuit breaker measures implemented this week will be seen by Day 11, which will be next Friday, April 17.
Mr Lee wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday (April 9) that he had been in a phone conversation with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and they had compared notes on how the two countries are doing in their “strict circuit breaking measures” to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
New Zealand banned the entry of foreigners on March 20 and imposed a lockdown three days later.
Mr Lee wrote that Ms Ardern said it was 11 days into the lockdown when the numbers of those infected started to go down. Bringing the point home, the Prime Minister added that Singapore still has a long way to go, since the circuit breaker has just been implemented.
“We are only in Day 3 and still have a long way to go. If we all comply strictly, as the New Zealanders have done, hopefully by our Day 11 we too will see positive results.”
New Zealand‘s response to the pandemic has been praised by news giant CNN, according to newshub.co.nz on Friday (April 10). CNN had said the country had set “a very ambitious goal, trying to eliminate the disease completely from its shores”. The Ardern government had decided to shut down the country completely, closing its airports to travellers, which was seen as quite a risk for a tourism-reliant country.
On Thursday, when the country saw its lowest number of cases added in a 24-hour period, with 29 new cases, bringing the total to 1,239, Ms Ardern said she was cautiously optimistic. “Our 205 cases on March 25 could have grown to over 10,000 by now without the actions we have taken together,” she told CNN.
However, as in Singapore and other countries, there have been those who have flouted the stringent restrictions, including New Zealand Health Minister David Clark, who took his family out on a beach trip on the first weekend of the lockdown, which began on March 23.
Dr Clark was stripped of his role as associate Finance Minister, although he remains as Health Minister. According to edition.cnn.com on April 7, Ms Ardern said: “Under normal circumstances I would sack the minister. What he did was wrong and there are no excuses. But he broke the rules, and he does need to pay a price.”
In another report, newshub.co.nz said New Zealand was interested in the contact tracing app developed and used in Singapore, Trace Together. Ms Ardern said she had spoken to Mr Lee about it on the phone.
Mr Lee added in his post that he and Ms Ardern had “also discussed how we can support each other during this time, including keeping supply chains intact between the two countries”.
He also encouraged Singaporeans to observe the circuit breaker rules. “We cannot wait to save lives. Please do your part today.” /TISG