SINGAPORE - The Government has decided to act after seeing an increased number of unlinked local cases here in recent days, suggesting that people who are infected but not identified may be passing the virus unknowingly to others.
The Government will be implementing significantly stricter safe distancing measures as a circuit breaker to pre-empt the trend of increasing local transmission of Covid-19.
Here are the new measures announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the multi-ministry task force on Friday (April 3).
1. Closure of most workplaces
Most physical workplace premises will be shut from next Tuesday to May 4.
Those providing essential services, such as government services, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services will be exempted.
Others that are in selected economic sectors which are critical for local and global supply chains will also be allowed to stay open.
The list of activities that will be allowed to continue to operate will be updated at the GoBusiness website.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry said that business owners, if their businesses fall within the list that are allowed to stay open, should submit the relevant details at the dedicated website by April 13, and can continue operating until informed otherwise.
Those who wish to apply to stay open, as their business supports an essential service, can also apply through the same website and wait for the MTI's response, which is expected within 48 hours.
In the meantime, they can stay open but should implement safe distancing measures.
For workplaces still allowed to stay open, work that can be done via telecommuting should continue to be completed from home.
2. Eateries to be open only for takeaway or delivery
From next Tuesday, all restaurants, hawker centres, coffee shops, food courts and other food and beverage outlets will remain open only for takeaway or delivery.
While patrons and delivery drivers can continue to enter the premises to access takeaway services, there will be no dine-in service, and nobody should consume any food or drinks onsite while waiting for takeaway food.
Those who are buying food should stand at least 1m apart from each other.
Food items will continue to be available, the Government said.
3. Full home-based learning for schools
From next Wednesday to May 4, schools and institutes of higher learning will shift to full home-based learning, while pre-school and student care centres will suspend services.
Private education institutions should also move to home-based learning, or suspend classes if this is not possible.
Parents working in essential services who are unable to secure alternative care arrangements may approach their children's pre-schools and primary schools for help.
4. Closure of recreation venues, attractions and places of worship
From next Tuesday, all attractions, theme parks, museums and casinos will be closed.
Sports and recreation facilities, such as public swimming pools, country clubs, gyms and fitness studios will also be shut.
All recreational facilities in hotels will also no longer operate.
The suspension of all organised sporting programmes and religious services already announced earlier will continue. Places of worship will also be shut.
5. Advice to the general population: Stay at home
Members of the public are strongly advised to stay at home and avoid going out unnecessarily, except to buy daily necessities, essential services, or for urgent medical needs.
Social contact should be confined to immediate family members living in the same household during this period.
Those who need to exercise should do so on their own, and only in their immediate neighbourhood in open, uncrowded places.
Even there, they should practise safe distancing and avoid gathering in groups.
Those who are unwell should strictly stay at home.
6. Distribution of reusable masks to all residents
The Government will distribute reusable masks progressively from Sunday to April 12 at collection points at designated community clubs and centres and residents' committee centres.
Household members will be allowed to collect the masks on behalf of those who live with them.
The Government said it has updated its guidance on masks because of increased local transmission and the possibility of some undetected cases in the community.
There is also some evidence that infected people who are asymptomatic may infect others.
It is now asking those who need to go out and are unable to avoid close contact with others to consider wearing masks. It has also urged people to try to use the reusable masks provided for this purpose as there is currently a global shortage of surgical masks, which should be conserved for healthcare workers who need them most.
7. Singapore Armed Forces to take more stringent steps
Units performing critical operations to safeguard Singapore - such as those performing air defence operations and protecting key installations - will be required to stay in camp before and during their operations.
Operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) activities, including in-camp training and the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT), will be deferred until after May 4.
Other SAF units including training schools will continue training and operations with safety measures in place, including temperature monitoring and staggered mealtimes.
Those in administrative roles will work from their homes where possible.