S'pore cannot lock down indefinitely but also cannot 'let things rip' in Covid-19 fight: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that certain sectors - such as the food and beverage industry - have had an exceptionally tough time. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - While Singapore cannot go into an indefinite lockdown and stand still, it also cannot "simply let go and let things rip", said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a Facebook post on Saturday night (Oct 23).

"We have to travel this road to get to living safely with Covid-19. We want to get there with as few casualties as possible," Mr Lee said.

And the course which the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic is setting reflects the Government's judgment on how best to do this, he added.

The task force on Saturday announced several new measures designed to prepare Singapore for the safe resumption of more activities.

These include requiring vaccination for all staff returning to the workplace from Jan 1, as well as adding China's Sinovac to the national vaccination programme and expanding the home recovery scheme to certain pregnant women.

The task force also announced that some Covid-19 measures can be eased if the weekly infection growth rate drops below one.

The task force is co-chaired by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

In his post, PM Lee highlighted the weekly infection growth rate - that is, the ratio of community cases in the past week over the week before - as a number to watch.

Two weeks ago, this figure was 1.5, meaning that cases were doubling roughly every fortnight.

It is now 1.15, meaning that cases are growing 15 per cent each week. This works out to case numbers doubling about every month.

If the ratio drops below one and Singapore's hospital and intensive care unit situations remain stable, some measures can be eased, Mr Lee said.

"Many of you have written to express your frustrations about the restrictions, while others have voiced concerns that we are opening up too fast!" he added. "I fully understand how you feel. It has been a long journey, and the continuing uncertainty and disruption is hard on all of us."

Certain sectors - such as the food and beverage industry - have had an exceptionally tough time, Mr Lee observed.

He urged everyone to continue doing their part and exercise social responsibility as Singapore works towards living safely with the virus.

This includes taking vaccinations or booster doses when offered them, as they reduce an individual's chances of getting seriously ill, he said.

Mr Lee added: "Let's continue to stay safe and keep working together."

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