National Development Minister Lawrence Wong thanked Singaporeans for making “tremendous sacrifices” to bring the number of COVID-19 community cases down, in a social media post published on Tuesday (2 June) – the day Singapore reopened after a two-month long circuit breaker.
Singaporeans who are non-essential workers hunkered down at home from 7 April to 1 June, working from home and only leaving their homes for essentials after the Government imposed lockdown-style “circuit breaker” period to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections.
Although the circuit breaker has ended, the Government has announced that some restrictions will remain and that the re-opening will take place in three phases to curb a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Taking to Facebook on the day Singapore reopened, Mr Wong – who co-chairs the Government’s multi-ministry task-force on COVID-19 – thanked Singaporeans for helping to limit the community spread of coronavirus cases. He wrote:
“We have exited the circuit breaker and today’s the first day of the Phase 1 re-opening. A big “thank you” goes out to all have worked hard and made tremendous sacrifices to bring down our community infection numbers significantly. Because of your efforts, we are now able to take this first step to re-open our economy and society.”
Mr Wong, however, said that “this is not the time for big parties or celebration.” Urging Singapore to stay vigilant as the nation re-opens since the fight against COVID-19 is “far from over,” the Minister called on those who return to school or work to continue abiding by safe distancing measures:
“There’s still a long road ahead and the fight is far from over. We have to stay disciplined throughout this controlled and phased re-opening process. This is not the time for big parties or celebration.
“Even as we return to work or go back to school, we must take all the necessary precautions – minimise social interactions and maintain safe distancing measures, including wearing of masks wherever we go. Let’s continue to stay united and work hard – to keep infection rates low and prevail against Covid-19 together!”
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing had made similar remarks earlier. On 26 May, Mr Chan thanked Singaporeans for abiding by the circuit breaker measures while warning citizens against being complacent about a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Mr Chan, who also serves as the second assistant secretary-general of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), said: “I would like to thank all Singaporeans for complying with the circuit breaker measures over the past two months.
“We are well-positioned to weather the COVID-19 threat, but we cannot be complacent. As more workers return to work next week, we must continue to remain vigilant, adhere to safe management measures onsite, and practice good personal hygiene. I am confident that our resilience as a society will put us in good stead to emerge stronger together as one people.”
While ruling party politicians are calling on Singaporeans to stay vigilant as the nation reopens, a petition asking the Government to allow limited social interactions during the first phase of reopening is going viral.
Calling on the authorities to be “more practical” since the number of Covid-19 cases in the community is low, the organisers of the petition said that allowing people to meet in small groups is important for Singaporeans’ mental well-being and to sustain long-term relationships.
The petition has garnered more than 16,000 signatures thus far. Some who signed it said that they miss their partners, while others said that they do not live with their family and wish to meet their friends.
<Start of Re-Opening>We have exited the circuit breaker and today’s the first day of the Phase 1 re-opening. A big…