Not long after Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered a speech addressing the Covid-19 situation in Singapore, a few netizens have taken to Facebook to express their concern for Mr Lee, who seemed to have “lost weight.” Netizens also compared his “outstanding” leadership and response to the pandemic to that of other leaders around the world.
Mr Lee on Thursday (March 13) delivered a public speech which addressed the medical, economic, and psychological aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak faced by Singapore.
It is five weeks since I spoke about the COVID-19 situation in Singapore. So it is timely to update Singaporeans again on the medical, economic and psychological outlooks of the situation.Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. This means that while the situation in Singapore remains under control, the COVID-19 threat will be with us for a long time. We cannot be complacent. There are some baseline precautions we must get used to, like maintaining good personal hygiene and not holding large gatherings. We must also plan ahead in case a major outbreak happens in Singapore, like in South Korea or Italy.If a major outbreak happens, we will need more stringent social distancing measures, such as suspending schools and compulsory telecommuting. These will slow down the rate of transmission and prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed.Already our economy has been seriously impacted, so we are working on a second stimulus package to support businesses and workers. Singapore’s response to COVID-19 has been recognised by the WHO and the international community. This is through the efforts of many Singaporeans, from the frontline staff to all of us keeping #SGclean. I thank all Singaporeans who are dealing with this calmly and responsibly. We must keep up our efforts, and remain #SGUnited. – LHL (Video by Mediacorp)
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday, March 12, 2020
In his speech, Mr Lee discussed how Singapore would have to tackle the pandemic by adjusting and adapting, such as “practising good personal hygiene, adopting new social norms, and discouraging large gatherings,” he stated. He also stressed the importance of maintaining social distance as a means to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Mr Lee emphasised that the Government has been working on “a second stimulus package to support businesses and workers,” to address the economic blow that the pandemic has caused. “We anticipated the medical and economic consequences,” he said. “I am confident we can deal with them.”
The psychological aspect of the pandemic was also addressed in his speech. After acknowledging the work being done especially by those on the front lines, Mr Lee thanked Singaporeans who have put their trust and support in the Government. He then spoke of how Singapore’s response to Covid-19 has been applauded by the international community, to which he gave the credit to “the social and psychological resilience of (Singaporeans).” He pointed out that the confidence Singaporeans have in each other is what has distinguished the country, making it a trail-blazer in dealing with the pandemic. “(W)e feel that we are all in this together, and we don’t leave anyone behind,” he said.
However, in the comments section of Mr Lee’s post, while most netizens expressed their commendation for the Prime Minister as well as their pride to be called Singaporeans, a few found that Mr Lee appears to have lost some weight and looked “unwell”. With this, concerned Facebook users politely reminded the Singaporean leader to get “good rest” and to “take care (of himself)” as well.
While a few expressed their concern for Mr Lee, other netizens compared his “outstanding” leadership to that of other world leaders, including US President Trump, Thailand’s “corrupted” government, and Philippine President Duterte, who addressed the Philippines Thursday night (March 12) regarding the counter-measures that would be implemented in the country to fight the spread of the virus.