PSA: Stricter "Circuit Breaker" Measures in Place to Contain COVID-19 Coronavirus
An Overview of How Singapore is Coping With COVID-19
Earlier in March 2020, Singapore was getting fewer than ten new COVID-19 cases a day.
However, in the latter half of the month, we experienced a spike in cases — more than 50 cases daily.
Despite stringent contact tracing, the authorities have found that nearly half of the infected cases are untraceable.
This suggests that more people out there might be affected but have not been identified as COVID-19 carriers.
To make matters worse, there have also been new clusters in foreign worker dormitories and nursing homes.
And this is worrying because these are places with large numbers who live together.
So a single case can quickly lead to a large cluster.
Overall, this is worrying because we have crossed the thousand mark for Singaporeans infected with COVID-19.
As such, there is a need for a circuit breaker measures to keep things under control.
These are decisive, preemptive measures to be implemented to keep COVID-19 in check, bring the numbers under control, and down to a more sustainable level.
Here’s what you need to know:
COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures Announced on 3 April 2020
1) Closure of Workplaces From 7 April 2020
Prior to this announcement, the government has encouraged workplaces to allow telecommuting and employees to work from home if possible.
However, on 7 April 2020 (Tuesday), most workplaces will be closed for one month till 4 May 2020 (Monday).
Only essential services like food (meaning supermarkets, wet markets, hawker centres, and food establishments), utilities, transportation, and key banking services will remain open.
Note: there is no need to panic buy and stock up ah… life still goes on!
Strategic economic sectors will also remain open with safe distancing measures in place.
Otherwise, Singaporeans who CAN work from home SHOULD do so.
The existing Job Support Scheme will be reviewed and assistance like the waiving of foreign worker levies will be announced on 6 April 2020 (Monday).
For companies who need assistance and further clarification, you can contact the Ministry of Manpower at 6438 5122.
2) Move to Full Home-Based Learning for Schools and Institutes of Higher Learning From 8 April 2020
Starting 8 April 2020 (Wednesday), schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) will be closed for one month till 4 May 2020 (Monday).
Similarly, preschools and nurseries will also be closed.
The government has announced that minimum attendance requirement for student care fee subsidies will be waived and subsidies will continue to be dispersed during this period.
However, parents who are in essential services (eg. frontline medical and healthcare), as well as low-income and families in need of support, can still contact their pre-schools for further assistance.
3) Tightening of Restrictions on Movements and Gathering
The key to controlling the spread of COVID-19 is to minimise physical contact and interactions.
As such, social distancing should be taken more seriously.
You are recommended to:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Avoid socialising with others beyond your own household
- Go out only to do essential things
And by essential it means to:
- Buy food and groceries
- Order food for takeout. Note: NO loitering or dining-in.
- Use essential services. Note: buying Toto or 4D is not considered essential
- Exercise (for eg. at the nearby park) but still adhering to social distance measures
If you’re going out for groceries, there is really NO NEED TO PANIC BUY since we have enough essentials to last us through this period and more.
What we can do is change the day, which we do our grocery shopping.
Instead of going on the weekend when it’s more crowded and there are more people…
We can go on a weekday instead in order to effect social distancing.
And if you’re going out to dabao (Chinese: take away) your food, bring your own reusable containers to help vendors preserve supplies and help with our sustainability efforts.
Alternatively, make use of these food delivery promos and get your food delivered to you instead!
PSA: Distribution of Reusable Face Masks From 5 April 2020
Prior to this announcement, the government has advised all Singaporeans to only wear a mask if you’re sick.
This is to protect others around you from potentially catching something from you.
However, evidence has shown that an infected person can show no symptoms and yet still pass the virus.
And given that most local cases are unlinked to existing cases, it means that there are undetected individuals carrying the virus in our community.
As a result, you are encouraged to wear a mask in order to protect yourself as well as the people around you.
Note: especially if you cannot avoid crowded places, or are in constant contact with the elderly or people with existing health conditions.
From 5 April 2020 (Sunday), 10am onwards, you will be able to collect reusable masks at your nearest Community Centre (CC) or Residents’ Committees (RC).
Be on the lookout for notice at HDB flats or check Mask Go Where for more information!
Mask Collection on Weekdays
You can collect your mask from 3pm to 9pm daily.
Mask Collection on Weekends and Public Holidays
You can collect your reusable mask from 10 am to 9pm daily.
As we batten down and fight COVID-19 together, it’s important that we cooperate with the latest measures and efforts.
Each of us can and must do our part to keep Singapore safe from COVID-19.
Once more information is released on 6 April 2020 (Monday), we’ll update everyone with the latest!
Till then, stay safe and take care!