Covid-19: NDP and other big gatherings may be done differently to minimise contact

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the concern for the National Day Parade is not just the spectators, but also the thousands of participants.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the concern for the National Day Parade is not just the spectators, but also the thousands of participants.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There is now a question mark over whether large national gatherings, such as the National Day Parade (NDP) and the May Day rally, can proceed as normal.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the organisers will need to discuss this with the multi-ministry task force, of which he is the co-chair.

If the decision is yes, he said, the next question is how they will be carried out.

The task force has introduced new advisories on cancelling or postponing events and gatherings with more than 250 people - for an indefinite period.

He said: "They will all have to adjust to these principles. If there's a major speech event, you could potentially have multiple venues."

Those attending, for example, could sit in different rooms where speeches are livestreamed. This is what could happen to the Shangri-La Dialogue scheduled for May that brings together top opinion leaders.

He said event organisers and government agencies will have to adjust accordingly. Things they need to consider is the capacity of the venue, the duration of the event, and the nature of the activity.

For the NDP on Aug 9, the concern is not just the spectators, but also the thousands of participants. A number of rehearsals also precedes the NDP.

But Mr Wong said the organisers might come up with a novel way of organising the NDP this year.

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