On Friday (April 4), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that all nonessential services will be shut down temporarily as part of the Government’s stricter measures to “minimize physical contact” and to keep the COVID-19 pandemic in check.
This means that essential services such as food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport, and key banking services will remain open during this period.
[VIDEO] Gov’t to Close Schools, Non-Essential Workplaces from April 7 and 8
Meanwhile, starting April 8, schools and institutions of higher learning will move to full home-based learning, as shared in a report by Today Online.
Moreover, all preschool and student care centers will also be closed but will provide limited services for children of parents who have to continue working and are unable to make alternative care arrangements.
PM Lee noted: “We will, therefore, impose significantly stricter measures. This is like a circuit-breaker. It will help reduce the risk of a big outbreak occurring.”
In line with this, the prime minister also explained that the Government will also tighten its restrictions on movements and gatherings of people.
There are three key points in the Prime Minister’s message to residents and citizens of Singapore:
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Avoid socializing with others beyond your own household. Gatherings should be confined to your household. Avoid visiting even your extended families who are not staying with you, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable.
- People should only go out “to do essential things”. This means that those who are only allowed to go out for work are those in essential services or key economic sectors. This also highlights the importance of social distancing when buying food at markets, taking out from restaurants and hawker centers, or to exercise in the neighborhood park.
PM Lee explained that all these measures must be enforced to get everyone to minimize physical contact.
He also emphasized, “If we don’t go out, if we avoid contact with others, then the virus won’t be able to spread. It is as simple as that.”
Meanwhile, regarding the closures of workplaces, PM Lee said that the Government “should not disrupt economic sectors that are strategic or that form part of a global supply chain”.
He also clarified that those working on these sectors can continue to go to work, with safe-distancing measures in place.
In line with this, PM Lee noted that all other non-essential workplaces must be closed. And those who can continue to work from home must be allowed to do so.
On that note, the prime minister also acknowledged that there will be workers who cannot work from home, including foreign workers on construction sites and in shipyards. “These workers live in dormitories, and we will make arrangements to look after them.”
He reiterated that the Government’s most important task at the moment is to “ensure that most of our workforce stay at home and limit their physical interaction to as few people as possible”.
And with regard to full home-based learning, PM Lee noted that the schools started with one day of it earlier this week.
“This has gone smoothly, with teething issues being resolved. The Ministry of Education will work with the schools to implement full home-based learning starting next Wednesday,” he shared.
Here is the video coverage of PM Lee’s announcement regarding the added measures to contain the coronavirus in Singapore as shared by Today Online/YouTube:
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