Hari Raya under Covid-19 disappointing, but safety measures necessary: President Halimah

President Halimah Yacob said it is unfortunate that Muslims will have to again celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri under the shadow of Covid-19. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM HALIMAH YACOB/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The tighter Covid-19 safety measures are necessary to save the lives of Singaporeans, said President Halimah Yacob, as she called on everyone here to do his part to overcome the pandemic.

In her Hari Raya Aidilfitri message on Tuesday (May 11), Madam Halimah said it is unfortunate that Muslims will have to again celebrate the festival, which falls on Thursday, under the shadow of Covid-19.

"Some of us are understandably disappointed by the recent tightening of safe management measures, as Hari Raya has always been the time for us to enjoy the company of family and friends. I, too, was looking forward to hosting my children and their families," she said.

"But I hope that we also understand that these measures are necessary to protect all Singaporeans, given the emergence of new virus variants and the increase in the number of local community cases."

Singapore has tightened its rules on social gatherings since last Saturday (May 8) as it takes steps to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

Until May 30, people can gather in groups of only up to five, down from eight previously. These restrictions also apply to households, which can receive only five distinct visitors a day.

They also mean that for the second year in a row, Muslims here will have to make adjustments to how they celebrate the holiday. Last year's Hari Raya Aidilfitri fell on May 25, seven weeks into Singapore's circuit breaker, and visiting was forbidden.

Madam Halimah said that during the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes Hari Raya Aidilfitri, she met different groups of Singaporeans.

These included workers in the healthcare and security sectors, who work tirelessly to keep Singapore safe and secure, as well as those in social service agencies, who bring aid and cheer to the vulnerable in the community, she noted.

"I was heartened to see everyone in high spirits and exemplifying the values of Ramadan, of compassion, empathy and sacrifice," she said.

Madam Halimah wishes all Muslims Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

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