SINGAPORE - Seniors have been urged to go out less and take extra precautions during this period as Singapore's Covid-19 infections are still surging.
"It is temporary, but how many weeks, how many months it will take, we wouldn't know. But now is still not the time," said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Saturday (Oct 2) during a press conference by the multi-ministerial task force tackling Covid-19.
He was addressing a question on whether there was a timeline for seniors to resume their social activities.
"We seek your understanding. Let's endure a bit more, work together. We will be able to get past this wave and we will emerge on the other side with new freedoms and optimism and competence to deal with this virus," said Mr Ong.
The minister outlined how seniors have been a primary focus in Singapore's tackling of the pandemic, such as how they were given priority when vaccinations were rolled out to the population and more recently when booster jabs were introduced.
As Singapore's vaccination rates have grown to almost 85 per cent and as it progressively opens up, it is cognisant that unvaccinated seniors are at the greatest risk of being infected and falling seriously ill, Mr Ong said.
"And so we continue to vaccinate them as much as possible, and during this period when we are still peaking in (Covid-19) transmissions, we advise our seniors, try to go out less, be careful and take extra precaution."
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force, stressed that the current measures are linked to the stabilisation phase that is intended to address the more urgent issue of protecting Singapore's healthcare system as well as resolving issues pertaining to healthcare protocols.
Once Singapore is ready, it will be able to move forward and anyone in Singapore, young or old, will be able to resume their social activities, he added.
But Mr Wong also cautioned that safeguards and precautions need to be taken, given that seniors are more vulnerable to the virus and more likely to fall seriously ill compared to younger persons should they be infected.
"It doesn't mean then they should curtail everything, obviously, because if they were to do so, they also do not get to enjoy quality living.
"So we have to find the right balance, as I said, and eventually when we get out of the stabilisation phase, many of them can look forward to a resumption of activities," Mr Wong said.