Gan Kim Yong and Lawrence Wong sit 1m apart at Covid-19 press conference as part of social distancing

Speakers and reporters sitting farther apart from one another than usual during the multi-ministry task force's press conference on March 13, as an example of social distancing. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong were seated 1m apart during a press conference on Friday (March 13).

Both of them, who co-chair the multi-ministry task force tackling the coronavirus here, were walking the talk, as more social-distancing measures are put in place in Singapore.

In the same row, the Health Ministry's director of medical services, Professor Kenneth Mak, observed the 1m guideline.

Journalists were also seated 1m apart from one another.

This is the first time the practice was observed since the press conferences began more than a month ago.

The Ministry of Health said on Friday that event organisers for mass gatherings should reduce the crowding of participants and improve ventilation.

One way to do so would be to seat participants 1m apart from one another, and reduce contact such as shaking hands.

The ministry has also advised that for mass gatherings, including private functions and religious services, organisers should reduce the scale of the event to below 250 participants where possible.

For private events such as weddings, there are similar advisories, Mr Wong said.

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"For the bride and groom, social distancing 1m apart may not be a good start to the wedding," he said.

However, he noted that sensible measures could apply. For instance, guests did not have to be crowded around a table, and temperature-taking could be done.

The ministry also advised owners or tenants of venues open to members of the public to put in place measures to reduce close contact between patrons and customers.

To do so, dining venues can set seats at least 1m apart.

Entertainment venues and tourist attractions such as casinos, cinemas, theme parks, museums and galleries could limit the number of patrons and increase the space between visitors.

Sports centres with indoor facilities such as gyms or private academies could also limit the number of patrons or introduce physical separation measures.

They could also increase the frequency of cleaning, issue advisories to reduce unnecessary contact and practise public hygiene.

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