S'pore should be able to ride Covid-19 wave without tightening curbs, with hospitals holding up: DPM Wong

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong (second from right) greeting congregants at Masjid Ar-Raudhah on July 10, 2022. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Singapore should be able to tide over the current wave of Covid-19 infections without tightening restrictions, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Sunday (July 10).

He noted that hospitals are still holding up as cases start to peak. The recent surge in infections has been mainly driven by the newer Omicron subvariants known as BA.4 and BA.5.

Speaking to the media at Masjid Ar-Raudhah during Hari Raya Haji, DPM Wong said he was initially quite concerned about the rise in cases over the past few weeks.

He said: "But I think we will be able to ride through this particular wave without having to impose any new restrictions for now. That's our assessment.

"It's another reminder to all of us that the pandemic is not over. We all have to continue to take precautions and keep safe."

DPM Wong had previously said on June 27 that there was no need to tighten measures, but it could not be ruled out at the time as case numbers were on the rise.

During his visit to the mosque in Bukit Batok on Sunday morning, he spoke to mosque leaders and greeted congregants who were there to pray.

He said he was very pleased to see more Singaporeans able to perform the haj pilgrimage this year, especially after having to defer it for two years due to the pandemic.

A total of 900 pilgrims from Singapore went to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage this year - matching the official quota allowed before the pandemic.

DPM Wong said Hari Raya Haji is a reminder of the importance of sacrifice and caring for the vulnerable.

He added: "It is relevant to all of us in Singapore, as we grapple with the challenges of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Covid-19 and higher prices.

"The Government has been doing more by implementing measures and we will continue to do more if the situation worsens. But the community also plays an important role."

The Malay/Muslim community, said DPM Wong, has taken on the responsibility of looking out for one another and its people exemplify the spirit of gotong royong, or mutual aid.

"If we all display that same spirit of solidarity and looking out for one another, we will be able to get through the challenges ahead," he added.

When asked about the biggest sacrifice he had made, DPM Wong said he "had never worked harder (in the last two years) than in his whole lifetime".

"It has been stressful and challenging, but also very inspiring to see fellow Singaporeans, especially those serving on the front lines, prepared to put their own lives at risk and sacrifice a lot of their personal time working round the clock," he said.

He noted the tremendous sacrifice made by those working in hospitals, checkpoints, recovery facilities and dormitories.

President Halimah Yacob, who recently recovered from Covid-19, was also at a mosque on Sunday - Masjid Yusof Ishak in Woodlands - to join worshippers in their prayers.

President Halimah Yacob and her husband Mohamad Abdullah Alhabshee (second from right) leaving Masjid Yusof Ishak on July 10, 2022. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

She said in a Facebook post: "Muslims in Singapore and around the world commemorate Hari Raya Haji on the 10th day of the month of Zulhijah, to mark the end of the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. On this day, we remind ourselves of the spirit of sacrifice and compassion.

"Wishing those performing their haj in Mecca a safe journey home, and a meaningful day spent with loved ones," she added.

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