Coronavirus: Many of the current restrictions to continue even after circuit breaker ends, says Lawrence Wong

Coronavirus: Many of the current restrictions to continue even after circuit breaker ends, says Lawrence Wong
The Government is considering what activities can resume in a safe manner.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Singapore should be fully prepared that many of the current restrictions and circuit breaker measures in place will continue for some time even after June 1, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

This is to keep people and their loved ones safe after the circuit breaker ends, he said in a Facebook post on Sunday (May 17).

"It won't simply be a return to life before the circuit breaker," he said, noting the Government will adopt a careful and calibrated approach as the country resumes normal activities at work, schools, and in social settings.

The Government is preparing for the next phase and considering what activities can resume in a safe manner, said the minister, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 outbreak.

"A controlled and phased exit from the circuit breaker will require patience and discipline from all of us," he said.

"We must all do our part to control the spread of the virus and ensure that it does not flare up again. Otherwise all our efforts and sacrifices during this circuit breaker period would have been made in vain."

He cited the approach taken for the construction sector, which will restart on a few critical projects where very tight safeguards are required from June 2.

The safeguards include requiring workers involved in a project to be housed together, instead of lodging at multiple dormitories, as well as periodic testing of workers at two-week intervals.

The number of construction workers involved in projects will scale up over time as the industry gains confidence and experience with the measures, Mr Wong said.

Construction work has largely been suspended since Covid-19 circuit breaker measures kicked in on April 7, with only 5 per cent of the sector's workforce - about 20,000 workers - continuing to work on a small number of critical projects, and those that have had to continue for safety reasons.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) expects another 5 per cent of the workforce to resume work gradually, meaning about one-tenth of the usual workforce will be active in June.

During a press conference on Friday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong also called on Singapore residents to remain vigilant even after circuit breaker measures officially end on June 1.

He highlighted the need for restrictive measures to continue to ensure that the number of coronavirus cases does not spike, and urged Singaporeans to continue to cooperate with the authorities and support safe distancing measures so the country can progressively open up with time.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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