Coronavirus: Stadiums to close, children no longer allowed to be dropped off at grandparents' place daily

The authorities had initially allowed stadiums to remain open for people to exercise without being close together. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Sports stadiums will be closed from Friday (April 10) and existing circuit breaker measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 will be further tightened if people continue to gather outdoors, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong warned on Thursday (April 9).

If necessary, entry to parks will also be strictly controlled, said Mr Wong who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

More immediately, parents will no longer be allowed to drop their children off daily at the grandparents' place, said fellow task force co-chair, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

This is to protect the elderly who are especially vulnerable, he said.

"So if there (are) care arrangements for the grandparents to look after your children, then you should leave the children with their grandparents throughout the entire circuit breaker period. This is to protect the seniors to minimise the risk of exposure to virus attacks," Mr Gan said during a virtual presser conference.

Parents who work in essential services can get help to place their children in childcare facilities.

People can still visit their elderly parents who live alone to help them with their daily needs, but they should reduce interaction with the elderly as far as possible and observe strict personal hygiene, he added.

"The elderly... are vulnerable and more susceptible to severe Covid-19 infection, we should refrain from exposing them to the risk of infection as far as possible," Mr Gan stressed.

On the closure of open-air stadiums, Mr Wong said the authorities had initially allowed the facilities to remain open for people to exercise without being close together.

An NParks officer (right) ensures that people practice good social distancing while exercising at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill on April 9, 2020. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

He said: "Unfortunately, we do see groups, people coming in groups to exercise in the stadiums, which is not what the intention was.

"So we have decided to close stadiums altogether, because if there is no compliance and if these venues continue to be used for congregation of groups, then we cannot allow that to continue."

Sport Singapore, which runs the 15 ActiveSG stadiums in Singapore, said all the stadiums will be shut till further notice. The stadiums are located in areas such as Bishan, Jurong West, Woodlands and Evans Road in Bukit Timah.

Mr Wong added that people who want to exercise can continue to do so, but should do so by themselves or with just a family member who is living in the same household.

They should not go to a place far away from their house to exercise, and should instead do so within their own local neighbourhood.

Mr Wong said that while travelling outside the neighbourhood to exercise has not been prohibited yet, the task force will review its stance on this.

"We are reviewing our guidelines and we may well have to tighten (it)," he said.

The task force is also reviewing the other rules, given that there are still people who are not following instructions to limit movement, he added.

Both ministers reiterated that everyone must stay at home as much as possible for the circuit breaker measures to be effective.

The current measures that include a shutdown of most workplaces and all schools, as well as new rules that allow only takeaways at hawker centres and other food outlets, are necessary, the task force has said.

Mr Gan stressed: "The next few days will be a long weekend. I appeal to everyone to stay home. If you want to see your relatives, call them or have a virtual meet-up. Each of us must take the circuit breakers seriously. The health of everyone depends on us."

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