Home News Ong Ye Kung defends not closing schools earlier

Ong Ye Kung defends not closing schools earlier

Mr Ong's reasoning was that Covid-19 does not behave like influenza, where children are especially susceptible. He also added that children are less likely to become "vectors of transmission" as compared to adults

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Education Minister Ong Ye Kung defended his decision in keeping schools open for as long as possible before the country announced complete home-based learning from April 8 onwards.

In responding to a question if Singapore should have closed schools earlier during a Bloomberg TV in a live interview on Tuesday (Apr 7), Mr Ong said it was “a correct decision not to close schools”.

He also cited Taiwan and Australia, saying that they had managed to control the viral outbreak while keeping their schools open.

Mr Ong explained that Covid-19 does not behave like influenza, where children are especially susceptible. He also added that children are less likely to become “vectors of transmission” as compared to adults.

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Looking at statistics, Mr Ong noted that the 65 students who were infected did not mainly get it from schools, but that a “great majority” contracted the virus overseas, from adult family members in their households, or from social gatherings outside.

But with the “circuit breaker” mode that Singapore is moving to, it will try to “crash the transmission rate” of the virus, he said.

He also added that he hoped businesses and schools could be reopened by May 4, and that life could return to a “certain normalcy” again.

On Tuesday (Apr 7), Social gatherings of any size, in homes or public spaces, are not allowed under a new law on the coronavirus pandemic that was passed through Parliament yesterday.

The ban includes having private parties or gatherings with families or friends not living together, at home or in public spaces like parks and Housing Board void decks, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Mr Gan also added: “This enables us to better regulate events and gatherings, including those that take place on private properties.” /TISG

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