Singaporeans could face an extension, if necessary, of circuit breaker restrictions beyond May 4, when they were originally supposed to end, and for some social distancing measures to remain at the end of the circuit breaker.
This scenario was mentioned at a virtual press conference on Wednesday (April 15) by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the task force on Covid-19 with National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
Mr Gan warned the public against the mindset that life will go back to “normal” at the end of the circuit breaker period.
The Health Minister, according to a report on straitstimes.com, said: “We should not have the idea that at the end of a circuit breaker, everything will revert to normal and you don’t have to wear masks any more, we don’t have to have distancing any more.”
Even if the circuit breaker is not extended, Singaporeans should not think that all its measures will be removed simultaneously, allowing everyone to do “what they like”, according to Mr Gan as a number of these measures may yet be kept in place, or be tightened, or loosened, while other measures could be fine-tuned.
He said that the loosening of the circuit breaker measures may come step by step, a gradual process that would go beyond the circuit breaker period. A risk assessment carried out by authorities will dictate the pace of the lifting of the measures, including social distancing.
Mr Gan added that wearing face masks in public and staying one meter apart might possibly need to continue in one way or another.
The people have been required to wear face masks when they are out from Tuesday (April 14). The only exceptions are children under the age of two and individuals doing strenuous exercises. The latter, however, must put the masks back on when they finish. Anyone not wearing a mask will have to pay a $300 fine for the first offence.
Under the circuit breaker period till May 4, schools are closed, with students going through home-based learning, and many people are working from home. The people can only leave home to buy food and to perform essential tasks.
Meanwhile, other countries have also warned that lockdown measures may not end as quickly as earlier thought, with analysts saying that the coronavirus may return in waves seasonally and might possibly cause periodic lockdowns.
An AFP report on Tuesday (April 14) quoted Harvard scientists who had modelled Covid-19’s trajectory as saying that social distancing may be needed until 2022 in order to prevent healthcare systems from being overwhelmed with too many cases.
The lead author of the Harvard study, Stephen Kissler, said: “We found that one-time social distancing measures are likely to be insufficient to maintain the incidence of Sars-CoV-2 within the limits of critical care capacity in the United States.
“What seems to be necessary in the absence of other sorts of treatments are intermittent social distancing periods.” /TISG
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