Lawrence Wong raises possible delay in next stage of reopening

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Finance Minister and MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong. (PHOTO: MCI)
Finance Minister and MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong. (PHOTO: MCI)

SINGAPORE — Finance Minister and multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) co-chair Lawrence Wong has raised the possibility of a delay in the next stage of Singapore's re-opening following a recent outbreak of COVID-19 community cases. 

In a video posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday (16 June), Wong noted that a further easing of pandemic restrictions, including the resumption of dining in at hawker centres and eateries, is scheduled to take place on 21 June. Singapore is currently in Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) of its reopening, which started on 14 June.

"Unfortunately, we've had a latest outbreak of cases and we are likely to be dealing now with a very large cluster in Bukit Merah, where the cases are breaking out not only at the market and the hawker centre but also all around the vicinity. And day by day we are seeing the number of cases, the cryptic cases in the community are likely to be rising too," he said.

Wong was referring to a cluster of infections linked to the Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre, which currently has 25 cases.

With this in mind, Wong added the government is "evaluating the timeline and the scope of our second stage of opening" and, in consultation with public health experts, would announce its decision soon.

"We want to ensure that we do not have another flare up before we reach sufficiently high levels of vaccination in our community," he said.

In the video, Wong also demonstrated the use of an antigen rapid test (ART) kit, which can be used for self-testing to detect COVID-19. These kits are currently available at all major pharmacies, with prices ranging from $10 to $13.

"The process is fast, simple and very easy to use. All of us must get used to the idea of regular testing as part of our routine, like taking our temperatures," said Wong.

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