SINGAPORE – On June 8 (Mon), Minister for National Development and co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce Lawrence Wong, explained in a press conference why riding a busy MRT and meeting up with friends are simply not the same thing.
Singapore entered into Phase One of easing up on circuit breaker measures last June 2, which means people are headed back to school and work. But just because they will be forced to be in close contact with one another on the MRT or other forms of public transport, it is not the same as social interactions.
Despite some measures being lifted, Singaporeans are still not allowed to have non-essential activities or social gatherings in order to keep people from meeting up in bigger groups if they don’t live together.
The current rules stipulate that while Singaporeans are allowed to visit their parents and grandparents, they can only have two visitors from the same household come once a day.
The public questioned what the difference was between their going to work and seeing many people on public transport, with seeing family and friends in a social setting. Mr Wong explains that this is because “the settings and risk are very different.”
According to Wong, he understands that going to work and school equals more people using public transport, which means that maintaining social distancing will be difficult. But with this, locals are required to wear masks, not to speak to one another while in transit, as well as intensifying the cleaning measures done on buses, trains and other forms of public transportation.
“In any case, the public transport journeys are not long. These are transient risks, but with these additional precautions, we are able to minimise the risk further and ensure that public transport journeys are safe,” he said.
He added, “But social interactions are of a different magnitude of risk altogether. When we gather together whether to talk, to interact, to have a meal together, the risks are much higher.”
Mr Wong also cited, “And the evidence we have for cases in Singapore, and also the evidence around the world, shows that the vast majority of infected cases are typically spread by these few events that involve social interactions and gatherings.”
He emphasized his point by saying, “And if we all do our part to comply with the measures in phase one, we will be able to keep community transmission low and stable throughout this period, and it gives us a much better chance of getting into phase two early.”
See partial video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-W6_-Z4cwI / TISG