Stay home over weekend and go out only if really necessary: Masagos

Singaporeans should remain in their homes over the weekend, going out only if necessary, because of the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the community, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli yesterday.

The Ministry of Health reported 24 new community cases yesterday, the highest daily number of such cases since July 11 last year. Of these, 19 were linked to the cluster at Changi Airport, which now has 46 cases.

In a Facebook post on Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Mr Masagos said it is a worrying development, especially as this is happening during the festive period.

"Many would have taken leave for a long weekend to go house visiting or simply to engage in outdoor activities," noted Mr Masagos, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

"I urge everyone to reconsider. Do try and stay at home and go out only if really necessary. As much as possible, try to connect with one another through online platforms. If you need to be outside, do observe seriously the safe management measures."

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Maliki Osman, in a separate Facebook post yesterday, also encouraged Singaporeans to change their Hari Raya plans and reduce visits to relatives' houses for now.

"These are the moments when we should strengthen our commitment to fight Covid-19 and not allow it to continue to spread," he wrote.

The number of community cases reported daily in Singapore had been very low or zero since October last year, but it has grown in recent weeks as multiple clusters have emerged.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong told Parliament on Tuesday that Singapore was on a knife-edge, and community case numbers could go either way over the next few weeks.

Mr Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force handling Covid-19, said it would take only one lapse or irresponsible action for an infection to spread.

Mr Masagos wrote that experts agreed with this assessment of Singapore being at a tipping point. "They opined that it is up to us - whether we cooperate so that we control the increasing cases or clusters, or we will end up with another round of circuit breaker given the highly infectious nature of the virus."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2021, with the headline 'Stay home over weekend and go out only if really necessary: Masagos'. Subscribe