Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: It will be Dorscon orange for some time yet, say task force chairmen

While more measures have been eased under phase two of the reopening, it does not mean things are safer and people can celebrate and enjoy themselves, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
While more measures have been eased under phase two of the reopening, it does not mean things are safer and people can celebrate and enjoy themselves, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Singapore will not be moving down from Dorscon orange for some time to come because the country is still not out of the woods yet for Covid-19, said the two ministers chairing the multi-ministry task force tackling the outbreak.

The virus has not been eradicated and people are still getting infected, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who was speaking at a virtual press conference yesterday.

Under the colour-coded Disease Outbreak Response System Condition or Dorscon, orange signifies an outbreak with moderate to high public health impact. People need to comply with control measures.

There are two lower levels, yellow and green, and a higher level that is red for a severe disease that is spreading widely.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said: "My sense is that we ought not to let our guard down.

"The important message is that our trouble is not over yet and you still see a number of cases in the dormitories and, therefore, we actually need to maintain our guard and maintain our vigilance."

Relaxing more measures under phase two of easing the circuit breaker does not mean things are now "safer and, therefore, we can celebrate and we can relax and enjoy ourselves", he said.

It is more a case of "re-balancing", to restore the economy and community activities in a safe manner.

He said: "It's not an overall reduction of risk level and vigilance, but more a balancing approach by allowing more activities to resume but at the same time tightening our measures. For example, the expansion of surveillance, our testing is actually in a way stepping up our vigilance in monitoring the situation. So we should not think about changing the Dorscon colour yet."

Mr Wong chipped in: "We really need to understand, the fight is far from over. There is still a long way more to go.

"Of course it's easy to get into this sense that we have just overcome a major wave of infection and the situation is stabilising, reopening is happening, dorms are being cleared, the sense of relief is quite palpable.

NOT OVER YET

My sense is that we ought not to let our guard down. The important message is that our trouble is not over yet.

HEALTH MINISTER GAN KIM YONG 

LONG WAY MORE TO GO

We really need to understand, the fight is far from over. There is still a long way more to go.

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER LAWRENCE WONG

 
 
 

"And you go out, you see many people who are quite happy to be out and about and to be able to go out to their favourite places."

Such behaviour is understandable, but Mr Wong warned that although the more aggressive testing and surveillance put Singapore in a better position to control the virus, the ability to contain it 100 per cent is not guaranteed.

He said: "Something can flare up in a group, in an activity without our realising it until it's... down the road and many, many cases have formed. So that's something that constantly worries us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2020, with the headline 'It will be Dorscon orange for some time yet, say task force chairmen'. Print Edition | Subscribe