NDP to continue as planned; Mindef to review scale of parade, safety measures

Mindef will review the parade arrangement and other sites where NDP activities are planned. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The National Day Parade (NDP) will proceed as planned and the Ministry of Defence is reviewing its scale to ensure that all the necessary safe management measures are adhered to.

National Day on Aug 9 is an important national event and so the parade is going ahead as planned, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (July 20).

"Mindef is reviewing the conduct of the parade, the scale of the parade and all the necessary safe management measures to ensure that any rehearsal or events leading up to the parade itself can be done safely," he said at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.

Mindef will provide updates on this in due course, he added.

Mr Wong was responding to questions on how the current outbreak will affect the parade.

There were 182 new locally transmitted Covid-19 infections reported preliminarily on Tuesday, prompting the ministry to hunker down and announce tighter measures with a return to phase two (heightened alert).

Large crowds had been seen gathering in the Marina Bay area during NDP rehearsals at the weekend.

Acknowledging this, Mr Wong said people gathering outside the parade venue can cause crowding, which Mindef is mindful of. The ministry will review the parade arrangement and other sites where NDP activities are planned, such as the state flag fly-past and the Red Lions' freefall jumps.

"In keeping with the spirit of the heightened alert, (Mindef) will ensure that all of these can be done safely before they proceed," said Mr Wong.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had said the NDP would be a centralised physical event with spectators at The Float @ Marina Bay, but with the number of participants and spectators scaled down appropriately.

No public ballot will be held for this year's NDP and the spectators will be made up of Singaporeans who have played a key role in the fight against Covid-19.

Several Covid-19 safety measures have also been put in place. This includes splitting the parade's 1,200 participants into smaller groups during rehearsals and performances.

All participants have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and will undergo weekly rostered routine testing before entering rehearsal venues.

Read next: What you need to know about Singapore's Covid-19 rules from July 22

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