Coronavirus: Circuit breaker has worked but Singapore must get used to new normal, says PM Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore is set to reopen in gradual phases from June 2. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - While the circuit breaker to limit the spread of the coronavirus here has worked, Singapore cannot revert to the status quo ante, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday (May 20).

Commenting for the first time after the Government outlined plans for Singapore to ease out of circuit breaker measures on Tuesday, Mr Lee said in a Facebook post that people have to get used to a new normal, as returning to the previous state of affairs is not possible.

"(The) battle against Covid-19 is far from over. That is why we are reopening in gradual phases, with (food and beverage) dine-ins only allowed after we are confident that community transmission will stay low," he said.

"We have seen other countries that have opened up experiencing a resurgence of cases. All it takes is a single infected person to create a new cluster."

Mr Lee did not name the countries he was referring to.

But some countries such as Germany, South Korea and China have had a degree of resurgence in virus cases after they lifted some lockdown measures.

Mr Lee added: "We cannot stay closed forever, so we have to get used to a new normal, adjusting our routines to live and work safely despite this global pandemic."

Singapore will embark on a month of "safe reopening" from June 2, where some businesses will be allowed to resume on-site operations and schools will gradually reopen.

However, most retail stores will stay closed and there will be no dining in at restaurants.

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Until a vaccine or treatment is found, people will not be able to return to what they were used to pre-coronavirus, the authorities have said.

Governments across the world are experimenting with ways to balance the restarting of their economies, the restoration of social interactions and health, and the aim of keeping community transmission low.

Mr Lee has addressed the nation several times during the ongoing public health crisis. On April 21, he had given a live address announcing that circuit breaker measures would be extended by another month to June 1 when community cases seemed to be rising.

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