SINGAPORE - As Singapore mulls over the next steps of its reopening, it will keep two considerations in mind, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Sunday (April 17).
The first is the overall Covid-19 situation here, with Mr Ong saying the authorities will keep a close eye on hospital capacity and the number of severe cases.
They will also scan the horizon for risks that could drive the next wave of infection, such as the emergence of a new variant of concern.
"It's about balancing the two considerations, even as we take further steps," said Mr Ong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic.
The minister observed that Covid-19 cases have continued to trend downwards, despite Singapore having significantly relaxed restrictions in the past month.
Any further easing will be done along five parameters: group sizes, mask-wearing, workplace rules, safe distancing and capacity limits.
"I think our approach is always not to go overboard," Mr Ong said. "Always do things in a moderate way; always be cautious. That's always been our approach and it has served us well."
He was speaking on the sidelines of a community event in his Sembawang constituency, where he helped distribute gift packs to residents in the lead-up to the Hari Raya celebrations.
Each pack contained 1kg of basmati rice, 2kg of mutton or beef, two whole chickens, rendang paste, ketupat, dates and serunding (spiced grated coconut).
Just over 200 such packs were distributed in Sembawang and Choa Chu Kang yesterday as part of the Meat-for-Eid event, organised by Jamiyah Singapore.
A total of 2,000 food packs will be given out to residents in nine constituencies over three weekends, as well as to Jamiyah's beneficiaries.
Dr Isa Hassan, who is senior vice-president at Jamiyah Singapore, stressed that the annual charity event drives home the deeper significance of the fasting month of Ramadan.
"Apart from fasting, it's about the feelings of sympathy and empathy that you have for those who don't have as much," he said, adding that it also helps to forge stronger bonds in the community.
One of those who received a food pack was Madam Khatijah Sarbini, who lives in Sembawang. The 60-year-old, who lives with her son, said their Hari Raya celebrations have been muted over the past two years.
"So we are very happy this year," the part-time van attendant added. "I want to visit my family, neighbours and friends."