The latest COVID-19 updates as of 10 March revealed good news and bad news. The good news is that the number of new COVID-19 confirmed cases fell. There were only 6 new COVID-19 cases reported in Singapore on 10 March.
However, the bad news is that the number of people in ICU has increased from 10 to 12.
There is also a rising trend, namely, the virus is being spread more often by the elderly during social activities.
Which is why new measures have been put in place by the authorities in light of this:
Everything About S’pore’s New Measures to Contain COVID-19 Within S’pore
The Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday that Singapore has to change its approach towards containing the COVID-19 within the country.
Currently, plenty of travel restrictions have been implemented to try to reduce the number of imported cases. However, the virus has now spread worldwide and “border controls become less relevant and effective in the future.”
“As the virus spreads to countries everywhere, country-specific border control measures will become less relevant and effective because we are unable to shut Singapore from the world. We have to now shift our approach,” said Mr Wong.
“Social Distancing” Measures
“We will look at the whole range of social distancing measures.”
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), senior-centric activities by government agencies will be suspended for two weeks.
But more of this might be implemented in the future. Over time, the Government might have to enhance and implement even more social distancing measures.
“We will look at a fuller range of social distancing measures we can put in place including for public events, community activities, school closures, workplace social distancing – including things like staggered hours, telecommuting – as well as religious services too. We will cover a broad spectrum and we will see what we should put in place,” Mr Wong said.
What is social distancing even?
CBS This Morning explains social distancing as “trying to keep yourself away from other people, especially large crowds” at schools, work or events.
In fact, Singapore already has a whole list of social distancing measures implemented like isolating patients, putting close contacts on quarantine and handing out Stay-Home Notices.
However, the authorities do acknowledge and are “very mindful” that these measures could disrupt our daily lives.
“If we were to do all of them at one time, we will literally have to shut down our city and everything will grind to a halt,” Mr Wong said.
Reviewing Advisory On Large Scale Events
Mr Wong said, “For large-scale events, we are reviewing all the measures.”
Currently, an advisory on large-scale gatherings has set the threshold for attendees in the thousands, but if this was adjusted to 500, it would affect religious services and weddings.
Mr Wong also said that there are no plans to extend the school holidays but the good news is (sort of) he did not rule out the possibility of school closures in the future.
“If there are social distancing measures we put in place that will impact Singaporeans, we will provide lead time. So certainly, school closure is one thing that impacts many people. We will have to provide lead time. We can’t just do it overnight.”
He added that they are reviewing the situation and should the measures be tightened, even NDP might be affected.
Senior-centric Activities By Government Agencies To Be Suspended
All senior-centric activities conducted by government agencies will be suspended for 14 days from 11-24 March.
This will include activities held at community clubs (CCs), residents’ committees (RCs), senior activity centres, active ageing hubs, CREST centres, Health Promotion Board and ActiveSG sports centres.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said during a press conference, “We want to encourage seniors to be active, but there’s now evidence of COVID-19 transmission among the seniors participating in such social activities because some individuals who were unwell had continued to participate in them.”
Many confirmed cases were transmitted during social activities and gatherings among seniors, such as the SAFRA Jurong cluster which is the biggest cluster in Singapore.
More Measures To Come
Before the activities resume, more measures will be put into place such as:
- Reducing the group size of activities to prevent crowding.
- Re-organising activities to minimise physical contact.
- Increasing the frequency of sanitising equipment between activities.
- Providing sufficient facilities for regular hand washing.
- Checking if participants are well.
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