COVID-19: SAF to further suspend basic military training till 1 June

Singapore Armed Forces paratroopers jump out of a C130 aircraft in their parachutes during a training exercise, in Singapore on 26 June, 2019. (PHOTO: Reuters)
Singapore Armed Forces paratroopers jump out of a C130 aircraft in their parachutes during a training exercise, in Singapore on 26 June, 2019. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will further suspend basic military training (BMT) and defer operationally ready national service activities till 1 June, in line with the government’s extension of the “circuit breaker” period to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Some 2,500 pre-enlistees due for enlistment in May will be administratively enlisted on their scheduled enlistment dates, and need not physically report for BMT, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on Wednesday (22 April).

They will stay at home until the BMT suspension is lifted, and informed of their new reporting date, it added.

The BMT suspension will affect a total of some 6,250 recruits, said Mindef.

To ensure their operationally ready date (ORD) will not be affected, the SAF will make adjustments to their training, it added. For instance, Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) requirements for affected operationally ready National Servicemen (NSmen) will be waived.

“Training critical for the build-up of operational units will continue. This is to ensure that the SAF have sufficient operational units to respond to threats to Singapore's peace and security, even as we continue to support the national COVID-19 efforts,” said Mindef.

As such, servicemen in active units undergoing operational training and SAF training schools, such as the Officer Cadet School and Specialist Cadet School, will continue to adhere to enhanced safety measures as previously announced.

Servicemen performing critical functions – such as island defence, protection of key installations, maritime security, air defence, and counter-terrorism operations – will continue to be cohorted, it said.

They will also reside in their camps and bases before and during their operational duty to reduce the risk of infection in the critical operational units, the ministry added.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the circuit breaker period will be extended by four weeks to 1 June.

Tighter measures will also be in place during this extension, including entry to certain wet markets on alternate dates based on one’s identification number. Less critical businesses, such as bubble tea shops and those predominantly selling pastries or cakes, have been ordered to close.

To date, Singapore has confirmed 10,141 cases of the virus.

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