Singapore — Following the announcement of tightened Covid-19 measures, Health Minister and former trade negotiator Ong Ye Kung has stepped up to clarify clarified that members of the public have regarding the revert to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).
Mr Ong shared that many people including his friends have sent him messages and queries about the switch to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) when Covid-19 will continue to linger for a while.
While the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) did go over the decision to tighten measures during a press conference earlier this Tuesday (Jul 20), Mr Ong gives an outline of what was discussed in a recent Facebook post.
Many in Singapore are disappointed and upset with those who were involved in the KTV cluster and acted responsibly. The revelation of the cluster has sparked outrage and been a topic of discussion over the last week. While many assume it to be the reason for measures to be tightened, Mr Ong clarifies that it is not so.
Even with the KTV cluster, the MTF thought that it was manageable and decided that F&B establishments could be kept open. Group sizes of two were allowed to dine-in, while groups of up to 5 could be allowed provided all group members were fully vaccinated.
The number of cases from the KTV cluster has started to drop, Mr Ong explains.
However, while the KTV cluster remained in the spotlight due to the reckless behaviour of those involved, the Jurong Fishery Port cluster is the actual reason that Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) is being implemented once again. While the fishmongers and stall assistants there were working hard, they got infected. Many of them also travelled to different markets in Singapore, causing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Many seniors visit markets on a regular basis. A large proportion of them is unvaccinated as well. The Jurong could lead to a surge in the number of cases, consequently causing many illnesses or even deaths. As such, social activities have to be put to a stop to prevent the virus from spreading even further.
Mr Ong also says that several people asked why dining-in was once again prohibited since there were no cases that were detected in restaurant settings.
After groups of 5 dine together outside and head home, they head home to their family members who subsequently dine out with another group of friends. This forms an intricate network that makes it all too easy for the virus to spread.
The silver lining amidst these clusters then is the fact that half of the people in Singapore is fully vaccinated. Mr Ong acknowledges that it is a good percentage but it needs to increase even more. Ideally, it should increase by 1 percentage point daily such that almost two-thirds of the population would be fully vaccinated in a fortnight. The Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) rules will be reviewed again then.
Singapore was close to easing Covid-19 measures, but given the severity of the Jurong Fishery Port cluster and the people it could potentially affect, the government decided to take steps to ameliorate the risk.
It is certainly frustrating, Mr Ong agrees, but he hopes that his explanation makes it clear why the measures are needed during these tumultuous times.
You Zi Xuan is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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