Two years after Covid-19 circuit breaker, S'pore in better shape but not out of the woods: PM Lee

A quiet Shenton Way on April 7, 2020, the first day of the circuit breaker. PHOTO: ST FILE
Singapore entered the circuit breaker on April 7, 2020, after being faced with a surge in unlinked Covid-19 cases. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Singapore entered the circuit breaker on April 7, 2020, after being faced with a surge in unlinked Covid-19 cases. PHOTO: ST FILE
Singapore entered the circuit breaker on April 7, 2020, after being faced with a surge in unlinked Covid-19 cases. PHOTO: ST FILE
During the circuit breaker, schools and workplaces were shut down, and dining at eateries was not allowed. PHOTO: ST FILE
A quiet Central Expressway near Toa Payoh during the circuit breaker in April 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE
A lone commuter on a bus on April 7, 2020, the first day of the circuit breaker. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
People’s Park Complex on April 7, 2020, the first day of the circuit breaker. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two years after the nation entered a circuit breaker period of restrictions, Singapore is now in a much better shape, but still far from being out of the woods, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday (April 7).

In a Facebook post, PM Lee recounted that Singapore made the "difficult and drastic decision" to enter the circuit breaker on April 7, 2020, after being faced with a surge in unlinked Covid-19 cases.

At the time, schools and workplaces were shut down and dining at eateries was not allowed. Work from home became the default for the first time here, and people could only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as to buy food or to exercise.

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"Shops and businesses were closed, many employees shifted to working remotely, while schools implemented full home-based learning. Our streets fell silent. It was a time of disruptive change. Major sectors ground to a halt, and our economy took a hit," wrote PM Lee on Thursday.

But he noted that during this difficult time, Singaporeans remained united and resilient.

"Neighbours brought food and groceries to those unable to do so themselves. Volunteers organised themselves to help the vulnerable. The Government rolled out comprehensive financial support measures to save livelihoods and businesses. Meanwhile, healthcare and essential workers bore the brunt of the load, to keep our society functioning," said PM Lee.

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Since circuit breaker measures kicked in on April 7, the hustle and bustle of everyday life has given way to a newfound tranquility. The Straits Times traversed the island to capture the sights and sounds of a city under shutdown.

He added that today, most people here are vaccinated and even got booster shots, and many have caught the virus and recovered from the infection, raising the immunity of the population.

Safe management measures have also been established and can be dialled up or down as needed.

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In this interview from Dec 2020, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recounts the events leading up to the circuit breaker of April 7, 2020.

"As a society, we are also acting safely and responsibly. Despite our relaxed mask-wearing rules, I'm glad to see most Singaporeans have cautiously chosen to keep their masks on outdoors," said PM Lee.

But he also cautioned that the healthcare system is still facing a heavy load, with healthcare workers pressing on tirelessly.

"As we adjust to the new normal, do continue exercising social and personal responsibility, such as by testing ourselves if we feel unwell, and abiding by prevailing safe management measures. Let's continue marching forward to get through this pandemic together," he wrote.

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