If 2020 was a movie, 2021 should be a sequel where the coronavirus is finally defeated and life returns to normal.
Instead, 2021 is starting to look like a remake of 2020, just with a different title.
In addition to repeated surges all over the world, bad news continues to pop up on our phones and computers, much like it did last year.
Yesterday (23 Jan), the authorities announced new restrictions to combat the rising number of community infections.
As a result, celebrations for Chinese New Year will be a subdued affair.
Now, our Prime Minister has explained the government’s reasons for the move.
PM Lee Spoke About CNY COVID-19 New Rules & Explained the Logic Behind Them
The new Covid-19 measures will help residents “psychologically prepare” themselves to celebrate the Lunar New Year differently this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.
In a Facebook post on Saturday (23 Jan), PM Lee explained the thinking behind the new restrictions on visits and dining out.
“The recent community cases remind us that the war against COVID-19 is far from over”, he said.
“With Chinese New Year coming up, we have decided to tighten up to keep everyone safe.”
PM Lee said that while the new measures will disappoint those looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year, they will help prepare residents psychologically for a different type of celebration.
“Just look at the countries near and far experiencing repeated surges in cases, and you will see why we need to stay vigilant”, he said.
Limit of 8 Visitors Per Day & No Chanting of Phrases During Lohei
For those who don’t know, the new restrictions were announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a media statement yesterday.
From 26 Jan, there will be a cap of 8 distinct visitors per household per day, the ministry said.
This is to further mitigate the risk of large community clusters arising from infections that spread within a household and through them to all their contacts.
Simply put, this means you can’t have one group of 8 relatives over in the morning, and another group of 8 in the evening.
Individuals should also limit themselves to visiting at most two other households a day, and visit family members only.
Moreover, face masks must be worn during the tossing of yusheng, and the lohei should be done without any verbalisation of the usual auspicious phrases.
“Say them in your hearts instead”, PM Lee said in his post.
Since community interactions are likely to increase as we approach CNY, MOH will also carry out surveillance testing for stallholders, shop owners, persons in the F&B industry, as well as food delivery persons operating in and around Chinatown.
Year Has Passed at “Breakneck” Pace
PM Lee observed how quickly a year has flown by since we confirmed our first Covid-19 case in Singapore last year.
“The year has gone by at breakneck pace, as we all struggled to cope with the unprecedented chaos and disruption to our lives.”
While we’ve struggled at times to combat the disease, we eventually managed to bring the outbreak under control.
“Through immense effort and sacrifice, we’ve got ourselves to a stable situation”, PM Lee said.
“Our vaccination programme is underway, with seniors starting to get their shots next week.”
“Let us continue to protect ourselves and our loved ones by adhering to all the measures”.
Sure, it sucks that we can’t celebrate special occasions as we usually would, but with rising community cases and a new Covid-19 strain out there, a little sacrifice is unavoidable if we want to beat this thing.
Featured Image: Asatur Yesayants / Shutterstock.com