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Covid-19: Lawrence Wong says ‘measures such as social distancing can be disruptive to the daily lives of S’poreans’

"It is critical to put in place the right measures at the right time to act as effective 'circuit breakers' to slow down the transmission chain," said Mr Wong

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Singapore – The Minister for National Development said that certain measures such as social distancing could be disruptive to the daily lives of Singaporeans and therefore, must be implemented at the right time.

On Wednesday (Mar 12), Minister Lawrence Wong took to Facebook to share his thoughts on the recent suspension of all senior-oriented activities as an example of a “social distancing measure” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a Time report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health experts have suggested that social distancing is a way to limit a person’s risk of exposure to the Covid-19 virus. The term involves “remaining out of a congregate setting, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance” as much as possible to avoid the spread of the virus.

On Tuesday (Mar 10), the multi-ministerial task force on Covid-19 announced the suspension of all senior-oriented activities by Government agencies for 14 days as a social distancing measure, which Mr Wong explained was a method of reducing the contact people had with one another to contain the virus.

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“Beyond this specific move, we are looking at a broader range of social distancing measures, including for events, schools, workplaces, as well as religious services,” said Mr Wong.

As the outbreak reached a pandemic level, there is a need for Singapore to double down on measures within the country on top of maintaining basic surveillance of its borders, added the minister in a straitstimes.com report. “Increasingly, this is spreading everywhere in the world, and the possibility of shutting ourselves out is, I think, not something we want to contemplate, so border controls will become less relevant and effective.”

However, Mr Wong noted that such measures need to be implemented at the right time. “If we do them all at once, many activities will grind to a halt, and our city will have to shut down,” he said on his post. “If we implement the measures too early, people may get fatigued,” Mr Wong added.

The task force understands that the measures could be disruptive to the daily lives of Singaporeans which is why “it is critical to put in place the right measures at the right time, to act as effective ‘circuit breakers’ to slow down the transmission chain.”

Mr Wong mentioned that various medical experts had confirmed the possibility of Covid-19 lasting until the end of 2020, which puts more pressure on each country’s approach in handling the crisis. “In deciding what to do and when to implement them,” Mr Wong reassured the public that they “will continue to be guided by data, scientific evidence and expert advice.”

Although it hasn’t been announced what these measures are in detail and when they would be implemented, Mr Wong said that the Government “will provide lead time” before imposing them.

<Social Distancing>Yesterday the Taskforce announced the suspension of all senior-oriented activities by government…

Posted by Lawrence Wong on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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