Coronavirus pandemic

No truth to talk that Dorscon alert will turn to 'red'

Mr Iswaran urged everyone to resist from sharing false information, adding that there are legitimate sources of accurate, reliable and timely information such as the Health Ministry and Gov.sg websites.
Mr Iswaran urged everyone to resist from sharing false information, adding that there are legitimate sources of accurate, reliable and timely information such as the Health Ministry and Gov.sg websites.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Rumours that the Government will raise the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) alert to "red", the highest level, are false.

"We are aware there has been false information purveyed on various platforms that we are going to declare Dorscon Red, that the Government is going to go into a lockdown mode, that we are going to scale back the MRT and bus services," Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran told reporters at Parliament yesterday.

"All of this is completely untrue. We have issued clarification through the Gov.sg WhatsApp service. Such false information is completely irresponsible and it just serves to raise the level of anxiety and cause fear and panic in our population."

There are four alert levels - "green", "yellow", "orange" and "red" - depending on the severity and spread of the disease.

On Feb 7, Singapore raised the Dorscon level from "yellow" to orange, which means the disease is severe with trans-mission, but is generally contained and has moderate to high public health impact. "Red" signifies a severe disease that is spreading widely.

Mr Iswaran urged everyone to resist sharing false information, adding there are legitimate sources of accurate, reliable and timely information, such as the Health Ministry and Gov.sg websites. "We hope everyone will exercise prudence in sharing information, and verify the source and truthfulness of it before they share it with their loved ones and friends," he said.

Singapore had 73 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday - the largest jump in a day, which brought the total number here to 631. On the same day, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told Parliament that the number of cases will keep rising in the coming weeks as some of the 200,000 overseas Singaporeans return home.

Singapore announced its strictest measures to date in the fight against Covid-19 a day earlier, which included closing all entertainment outlets, limiting gatherings outside work and school to 10 people or fewer, and suspending all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes.

To deter overseas travel, any Singapore resident or long-term pass holder who leaves Singapore from today will be charged unsubsidised rates should he be hospitalised in public hospitals for Covid-19 treatment. He will also not be able to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans for these treatments at public and private hospitals.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a televised national address that the Covid-19 situation in Singapore remains under control and there are no plans to raise the disease outbreak response level alert to "red".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline 'No truth to talk that Dorscon alert will turn to 'red''. Print Edition | Subscribe