Yesterday (June 1), Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan shared a photo on social media of him removing a safe-distancing sticker from an MRT seat.
As Singapore gradually reopens, the authorities said it would be challenging to maintain safe distancing, especially during peak hours. As such, safe-distancing stickers on public transport will be removed to free up more space on trains and buses.
Mr Khaw explained in the caption that, “We have been able to ensure safe distancing so far because commuter numbers have plunged. From tomorrow onwards, it will be more challenging”.
However, many netizens found this odd as they would be in very close proximity with others being seated on public transportation.
One Jennifer Goh said: “Jennifer Goh Why tear off and allow commuters to sit next to each other, even with mask when u cough there are holes / space at the side of the mask, hence the person sitting next to you will directly get the droplets easily”.
Another, Gary Tan wrote: “Commuters probably spend average 1hr round trip on average everyday on public transport. Why is it not important for have social distancing on public transport ? Govt can always during this period reduce working hrs to 7hrs per day and allow commuters more time to travel safely. Instead of 9-5 can be 930-430. Train n bus capacity reduce to 50%. Do this for a month and monitor situation”.
One Val Chean wrote on Mr Khaw’s Facebook page: “Hello Sir, what is it meant by “difficult” may I ask? Is tackling the “difficulty” more more important than risking the spread of Covid19 among our citizens? Shouldn’t the stickers be kept in place so it serves as a reminder to everyone taking the public transport? If the stickers are gonna be removed, then might as well lift the CB.. since it will be the same in the trains(as pictured), and we are all going back to our own household with kids and seniors”.
Others also added that the stickers were the first line of defence as it reminded commuters not to stand or sit too close to one another.
However, in looking at measures Singaporeans can take, the Health Minister announced on Monday (June 1) that people will have to wear face masks instead of face shields when they leave home, following a review of an earlier policy in which either option had been allowed.
Mr Gan Kim Yong said that the task force combating the Covid-19 outbreak has decided that face shields are not as effective as masks in reducing the risk of virus transmission.
“We know that Covid-19 is spread predominantly through droplets,” said Mr Gan.
“While face shields may provide some protection, the design of face shields typically leaves a gap between the face and the shield, which means that the wearer could still be depositing droplets. This is unlike masks”, he added.
Mr Gan said the Government had reviewed its policy in line with the partial lifting of the circuit breaker measures starting on Tuesday (June 2), which would lead to more contact between people at the workplace and in the community. /TISG