To curb the rising COVID-19 cases, Singaporeans have been advised to follow stringent measures including working from home, limited visitations, and curb on social gathering, among others.
Talking about the new rules in place, Minister for Social and Family Development, Masagos Zulkifli, said that people should remain in their homes over the weekend and should step out only if necessary. This advisory was issued on Thursday (13 May).
Health authorities are concerned as Singapore reported 24 new community cases on Thursday – the highest daily number of cases in comparison to July 11 last year.
Of these, 19 were linked to the cluster at Changi Airport, which now has 46 cases.
Exercise COVID-19 Precautions And Stay Home, Alert Leaders
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Sharing more on Facebook, Mr Masagos said that it was a worrying development, especially as it was happening during the festive period. He mentioned that the number of unlinked cases were growing and the cluster cases were also expanding.
“The experts agree too,” he added.
“Many would have taken leave for a long weekend to go house visiting or simply to engage in outdoor activities. I urge everyone to reconsider. Do try and stay at home and go out only if really necessary. As much as possible, try to connect with one another through online platforms,” he mentioned.
Mr Masagos reminded people that if they need to be outside, then they should practice caution at all times.
He further added, “Experts have said it is up to us – whether we cooperate so that we control the increasing cases or clusters or we will end up with another round of circuit breaker given the highly infectious nature of the virus.”
Similar caution was advised by Education Minister, Lawrence Wong on Tuesday. He said Singapore was on a “knife-edge,” and community case numbers could go either way over the next few weeks.
Rising Cases In Singapore: Changi Airport Becomes The Largest COVID-19 Cluster
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The Changi Airport cluster became the largest active Covid-19 cluster on Thursday (May 13) with a total of 46 cases confirmed, according to The Straits Times. The second-largest Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster has now 44 linked cases.
Out of the 19 new cases linked to Changi Airport, most are airport workers or their household contacts.
These include a 52-year-old Singaporean woman who works at McDonald’s at Bedok Reservoir Road and a 20-year-old Temasek Polytechnic male student. Both are household members of an infected employee of Ramky Cleantech Services.
Several of the new cases reported on Thursday had also visited Changi Airport Terminal 3.
In addition to the Changi Airport cluster, schools have also lost their immunity.
School students test positive for Covid-19
A Primary 1 pupil at Yio Chu Kang Primary School tested positive. He is a household contact of a Sengkang General Hospital operating theatre nurse.
The pupil last attended school on Monday he developed a cough and itchy throat that night. He was found COVID positive the following day. As the boy had been identified as a close contact of the nurse, he was placed in quarantine the same day.
Community cases also on the rise
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from 7 in the week to 15 in the past week. On the other hand, the number of new cases in the community have shot up from 48 in the week before to 71 in the past week.
It is quite concerning because the number of community cases reported daily in Singapore had been low or zero since October last year. But the growth has been because of multiple cluster cases.
To counter all these rising numbers, Singapore has now put several measures in place.
New COVID-19 Measures (16 May – 13 June): Here’s What You Need To Know
Keeping the rising infections in mind, the Multi-ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Covid-19 announced further restrictions in Singapore. These will be effective starting 16 May and applicable until 13 Jun.
Social gatherings will be limited to a maximum of two people.
Dining in at food and beverage (F&B) venues will no longer be allowed. Dine-in has been stopped keeping in mind that people spend a lot of time with their masks off at these places.
Both indoor and outdoor dine-in F&B establishments, including hawker centres and food courts, will only be allowed to offer takeaway and delivery options.
There is a cap of two distinct visitors per household per day, down from five distinct visitors.
People need to limit their overall number of social gatherings to no more than two per day. This includes a visit to another household or meeting with family and friends in a public place.
Grandparents who take care of their grandchildren on daily basis will not be counted as visitors per household, or to the number of social gatherings per day.
Here’s a ready-reckoner.
Group Size Reduced
No Indoor ‘Mask off’ Activities
Work From Home
Reduction in Event Sizes
Testing To Be Ramped Up
Vaccination Status In Singapore
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What needs to be highlighted here is that at present, the vaccination programme is only open to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged above 45.
As of May 9, about 1.8 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 1.2 million of them receiving their second dose. Singapore currently uses the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in the Parliament on Tuesday, “We need to continue to encourage more to be vaccinated – especially among the seniors – as, given their age, they are the most vulnerable. I urge all of us to encourage our elderly family members too.”
How Singaporean is spreading awareness about vaccination
In order to spread awareness around vaccination and to dispel rumours, Singapore is deploying the powers of informative disco to keep up its inoculation campaign.
In the public health video starring comedian Gurmit Singh as his much-loved character Phua Chu Kang, he warns the public not to be complacent.
The video also aims to dispel myths and quash concerns that vaccines might not be safe for people with certain health conditions, or for older people.
The authorities are trying hard to contain the spread by introducing strict measures. So, stay safe, wear your masks, and maintain social distancing always! It is not the time to let our guards down.
As Wong earlier alerted, “It only takes one lapse or one irresponsible action for an infection to happen; and that infection may end up being a super-spreader event in the community.”