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Netizen claps back at Heng Swee Keat, says advising against travel is not enough

Netizen Noel Lee Sun Yen highlighted that though "(s)ocial responsibility is a great virtue that takes time to grow in each person...we cannot expect (that the) majority of people will change overnight because of a crisis"

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A netizen recently countered Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance , saying the Government’s issuing an advise against as a counter measure in response to the is not sufficient.

Mr Heng in a Facebook post on Thursday (March 19) cited the international battle against and addressed the drastic rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases which Singapore has recently witnessed. “Globally, there has been a sharp increase in cases,” he said. “To date, we are seeing more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases in almost 160 countries. The risk of importation is high.”

Globally, there has been a sharp increase in cases. To date, we are seeing more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases in almost…

Posted by Heng Swee Keat on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

According to a report by Channel News Asia, on Wednesday (March 18), Singapore witnessed a record high of recorded cases in one day, with 47 individuals testing positive for Covid-19, 33 of which were imported.

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In his post, Mr Heng said that as a large number of Singaporeans are expected to return home in the near future, the Government is prepared for an increase in the number of imported cases as well.

“This is why we have advised Singaporeans to defer all travel abroad,” he stressed. “We will also expand the 14-day Stay Home Notice to all inbound travellers.” As for the Singapore-Malaysia border points, Mr Heng disclosed that the Singaporean Government was working closely with its Malaysian counterpart “to put together a joint mitigation plan to ensure the safe and sustainable movement of goods and people.”

Mr Heng then highlighted the importance of adhering to such precautionary measures and pleaded with citizens to practice social responsibility. “Please heed the and abide by the Stay Home Notices and Quarantine Orders,” he urged. “Doing so not only protects yourself, but also your loved ones and those around you.”

In the comments section of Mr Heng’s post, however, netizen Noel Lee Sun Yen countered his stance on the matter, arguing, “Advis(ing) against travelling is not enough–it is better to impose (a) statutory ban in the interim.” The netizen also stressed that though “(s)ocial responsibility is a great virtue that takes time to grow in each person…we cannot expect (that the) majority of people will change overnight because of a crisis.”

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The Facebook user highlighted that though “it is a grand and idealistic theory,” it could very well be expected that many people would still prioritise their self-interest over doing what is best for the social collective. He then concluded that the circumstances may call for “draconian measures–but for the interim only.”

Photo: screengrab from Facebook / Heng Swee Keat
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