Rise in Covid-19 community cases not stopping people from going to the beach

Beachgoers were spotted at East Coast Park throughout the day on June 27, 2020. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - An increase in Covid-19 cases in the community here has not deterred people from heading to the beach this weekend.

Groups of families and friends were seen hanging out at East Coast Park as well as Sentosa's Siloso Beach on Saturday (June 27).

Beachgoers were spotted at East Coast Park throughout the day, swimming, flying kites and having picnics while observing social distancing and wearing face masks.

Groups of five and below were also seen carrying out activities such as cycling, rollerblading and skateboarding on the paths beside the beach.

Likewise, Sentosa's Siloso Beach was full of people, especially in the late afternoon with people playing frisbee or volleyball and having meals. Restaurants that were open were seen to be full of customers enjoying cocktails and snacks.

Mr Yazid Moing, a container driver, was happy to be out fishing at East Coast Park with his family after not being able to do so during the circuit breaker period. Previously, he used to fish twice a week.

Mr Yazid, 30, who is married and lives with his wife and mother, said he felt safer to be outdoors than in an enclosed space like a shopping mall or restaurant.

"At least here, there is wind and it's open air. It's not like a shopping centre where it's closed and everyone is packed together," he said.

With Singapore moving into phase two of its post-circuit breaker period since June 19, park facilities such as beaches and fishing areas have reopened. Facilities like playgrounds and dog runs have also reopened for public use, subject to safe distancing measures.

In other countries, the easing of strict safe distancing measures has led to a rise in Covid-19 cases. There is concern especially over crowded beaches, after it was reported earlier this week that the local authorities of British coastal resort town Bournemouth were "appalled" by the scenes on its beaches. Thousands of people had gone to the beach to take advantage of the sunny weather, despite the threat of the coronavirus.

In Singapore, the number of Covid-19 cases in the community went up to 11 on Saturday, the first time this has hit double digits in the past week. These cases were among the 291 confirmed cases announced on Saturday, taking the total infections here to 43,246.

Some beachgoers say the number of Covid-19 cases in the community is still low.

A 24-year-old student who wanted to be known only as Mr Samuel said that the low number of these cases has made him feel better about going out.

"If the numbers spike again, I'm definitely going to stay home but because it seems like things are under control, we decided to hang out and catch up here," said Mr Samuel, referring to his group of friends who were sitting down on a mat at Siloso Beach.

Some decided to pack their beach towel and head out today - all because of the weather.

Mr Aden Ong, 33, who works in cyber security, had a picnic at East Coast Park with his wife and two children, aged three and one, said the weather on Saturday was very good "beach weather".

"After the days of heavy rain, it was nice to get a day without any. What's more, today is not too hot and pretty windy too, which makes it good to go to the beach to have a picnic and some family time like this," he said.

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