COVID-19: Gan Kim Yong outlines 3 indicators for easing circuit breaker measures

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People in face masks seen along the Ulu Pandan park connector on 2 May, the 26th day of Singapore's partial lockdown. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
People in face masks seen along the Ulu Pandan park connector on 2 May, the 26th day of Singapore's partial lockdown. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Three indicators will need to be looked at in considering when to lift Singapore’s circuit breaker measures, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Monday (4 May).

First, there needs to be an assurance that local community transmission of COVID-19 has been stemmed or is very low.

“Community cases should ideally fall to zero or single-digits daily, with very low numbers of unlinked cases, not just for one day, but sustained over a period of time,” said Gan while delivering his Ministerial Statement.

“We also need to see a decrease in migrant worker cases,” he added, noting that the current high number of cases is “partly due to proactive case-finding”.

Gan noted that it may take a “while longer” to bring reduce the number of migrant worker cases, it is still important to reduce these numbers. “Otherwise we will continue to be at risk of a spillover from the dormitories into the wider population,” he added.

Second, the authorities will need to make an assessment of the global situation and for individual countries before reopening Singapore’s borders. This will include reviewing the rate of transmissions in other countries as well as their measures to contain the pandemic.

“For any re-opening of our borders, we are likely to start small and selectively, and to continue to impose a mix of isolation and test requirements, to protect ourselves from new imported cases leading to community spread,” said Gan.

Third, a system will need to be put in place to allow Singapore to “open up safely”. Gan noted that the risk of virus transmission will rise as more business and social activities resume.

“Therefore we need to step up our capability and capacity to test and detect cases early, contact trace quickly, promptly ring-fence close contacts, and establish the original source of the infection to stop other undetected transmission chains if any,” he said.

“These are the key enablers which give us confidence to re-open,” Gan added.

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