The Straits Times says

Singapore not out of the woods yet

It is of some concern that in the final weekend before the Christmas festivities - and ahead of the start of phase three - malls in Singapore were teeming with pre-pandemic crowd sizes. Understandably, shoppers in a festive year-end mood were looking for last-minute gifts. That is natural because Christmas and New Year, like other religious and secular festivals, come once a year. What is true in normal times is amplified by the abnormal year that is about to pass. Chinese New Year managed to escape, by a whisker, the arrival of an unwelcome period after Singapore confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on Jan 23. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the festive, and regular, calendar as it turned daily life upside down. It is human nature to celebrate the slow return to a new normal. That is what the shoppers may have been doing.

But it is still days away from phase three of Singapore's reopening on Dec 28, when larger gatherings of up to eight and expanded capacity limits at public places will be allowed. No matter how close it is to that welcome date, it is essential to remember that each phase of reopening will work only as well as the safety levels achieved in the previous phase. What is heartening is that, even as the crowds gathered, there were patrons at malls who displayed a sense of unease over the size of crowds and the lack of safe distancing.

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