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SINGAPORE — The government will be extending the circuit breaker period by four more weeks to 1 June in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in an announcement to the nation on Tuesday (21 April).
In a live address at 5pm, PM Lee said the current circuit breaker measures will also be tightened.
Among them, the government will tighten access at hotspots like wet markets to ensure sufficient safe distancing.
The authorities will also close more workplaces so that only the most essential services will remain open, Lee said. This will reduce further the number of workers keeping essential services going, and minimise the risks of transmission among the workers, he added.
The government will continue to help businesses and workers cope during the extended circuit breaker period, Lee said.
The multi-ministerial taskforce on COVID-19 will hold a press conference immediately after Lee’s address to explain these measures.
It comes as the month-long circuit breaker period reached its halfway mark on Tuesday, after it was first being imposed on 7 April. It was originally slated to end on 4 May. Among the regulations imposed have been the closure of non-essential businesses and strict enforcement of safe-distancing between persons.
On the whole, Lee noted that people have coped well with the measures with most playing their part by staying at home and complying with the restrictions.
The number of new cases in the local community has levelled off to below 30 new cases daily, Lee noted, which he attributed to the result of the circuit breaker and the cooperation of the people.
But Lee added the total case numbers have risen sharply since the last time that he addressed the nation 10 days ago.
The large number of cases at the foreign worker dormitories is a “serious problem”, Lee said. Tests are being conducted aggressively while the healthcare professionals are working hard to take care of the affected workers.
Earlier Tuesday, Singapore confirmed 1,111 new cases of the COVID-19 virus, bringing the total to 9,125 – the highest recorded in South-East Asia. A majority of the new cases are linked to foreign workers living in dormitories, while 20 are Singaporeans and permanent residents.
The numbers come a day after the Ministry of Health confirmed a single-day high of 1,426 new cases.
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