SINGAPORE - Singapore's circuit breaker measures have "shown promise" in bringing down the number of coronavirus cases in the local community, and the country is on track to further ease these restrictions on June 1, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday (May 12).
The number of new cases in the community has continued to fall, from an average of over 30 new cases daily in mid-April, to eight new cases daily in the past week. The situation in the migrant worker dormitories is also stabilising, from a high point of an average of more than 1,000 new cases per day in late April, to an average of about 700 cases per day in the last week.
Mr Gan added that the first step of easing will focus on essential services, with more details to be announced next week.
"We don't expect that by June 1 we'll open everything, and everything goes back to normal, we begin to celebrate and have parties," Mr Gan said. "We need to do so in a very calibrated, careful way."
"If we have a big surge of cases after the first opening, then of course the progress will have to be slowed down, and it may become necessary for us to reintroduce some of the circuit breaker measures to keep the numbers low."
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry Covid-19 taskforce with Mr Gan, said Singapore is drawing up a roadmap and will take a step-by-step approach once the circuit breaker ends.
The Government will monitor the situation once safe distancing measures are rolled back, and take further steps if numbers do not spike, he told reporters at a virtual press conference.
For instance, it is studying whether to allow immediate family members living in different households to visit one another.
"We recognise that many people would like to visit their family members... I think many want to be physically connected again and we understand the desire to do so," he said.
"But we have to be quite cautious in moving on such a measure, particularly when it comes to the elderly. We all know they're vulnerable, and if they were to catch the virus the disease is potentially lethal for them."
He added that the Government will make an announcement on this when it is ready.