Coronavirus pandemic

Singapore has not changed approach to tackling Covid-19

The number of coronavirus cases in Singapore has spiked over the past two weeks, crossing the 3,000 mark, on April 14, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Singapore has not changed its strategy or approach in the battle against Covid-19, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday.

"It is one of constantly looking at the environment internationally and in Singapore, and then constantly adjusting and updating our posture and our measures, (anticipating) in a very proactive way, and then anticipating also what can happen in the future," said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry Covid-19 task force.

He was responding to a question on whether the Government has been taking more of a "reactive stance" in its coronavirus response, as opposed to a more pre-emptive stance of containment in the earlier days of the outbreak.

Singapore, he said, continues to pursue containment by conducting rigorous contact tracing and quarantining suspect cases.

The number of coronavirus cases in Singapore has spiked over the past two weeks, crossing the 3,000 mark yesterday.

The Government has steadily rolled out stricter measures as well, from putting in place circuit breaker rules that allow people to leave their homes only for essential tasks to announcing yesterday that it is now mandatory to wear a mask when out of the house.

Mr Wong said that from the outset, the Government has said the key to managing the spread of the virus lies not just in the measures Singapore can adopt, but also in the pace at which it is able to adjust strategies and adapt to a situation that is very fluid and changing very rapidly.

"The understanding of the virus is also evolving from the beginning till now, (and) we have continued to learn new things... Scientific advice, not just in Singapore but internationally, has continuously been updated and evolved as well," he said.

The virus spreads very quickly, and the situation can move in unpredictable ways any single day, he added. Given the nature of the virus, Singapore has to be prepared, and try its best to adapt and be as agile as it can - a posture that remains unchanged.

"Anything can happen in the future. That's something we've been saying all along and that remains the case... Anything can happen and the way it spreads, the new clusters that form - it can happen in very unpredictable ways because a single case, a single weak link can easily lead to new clusters forming."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2020, with the headline Singapore has not changed approach to tackling Covid-19. Subscribe