Lawrence Wong breaks down while paying tribute to 'unsung heroes' fighting COVID-19

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on 25 March, 2020. (PHOTOS: Parliament screencap)

SINGAPORE — National Development Minister Lawrence Wong broke down in Parliament as he paid tribute to ordinary Singaporeans doing their part in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“In these difficult times, we see the best of Singapore and Singaporeans at work,” said Wong in his Ministerial Statement to the House on Wednesday (25 March) as he paid tribute to frontline healthcare workers, civil servants working behind the scenes, and ordinary Singaporeans who have stepped up to the plate.

“We see Singaporeans from all walks of life, working flat out to fight the virus. We have our healthcare workers on the frontline, making many sacrifices and working tirelessly to care for patients. We have our public officials working very hard too, across all the agencies. Not everything they do is visible to the public eye, but I can tell you that they are working around the clock,” said Wong, as he grew visibly emotional.

Wong pointed out that there is a “huge team” working night and day to put out updated public communications materials on the pandemic, and a large operational side such as in immigration and security to ensure the smooth implementation of the precautionary measures.

“Words are not sufficient to express our appreciation for all of those who are....” said Wong as he broke down, taking several minutes to compose himself.

Together with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Wong co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 and has been at the forefront of the government's fight against the outbreak.

Wong also spoke of “unsung heroes” all over the island in areas like cleaning, security, airport management, media, hotels, F&B, transport and many more providing services to Singaporeans. Many Singaporeans, he said, have also been looking out for one another.

“We've had young people from the Youth Corps conducting door-to-door visits to share personal hygiene and safety tips with the elderly. We have had many volunteer groups like the Singapore Red Cross stepping up their befriending calls to many isolated seniors,” said Wong. Many volunteers have been packing and donating care packs and items like masks, hand sanitisers and thermometers to the elderly and vulnerable groups, he added.

The minister concluded, “But one thing is clear. We are all in this together. And we will continue to work through the challenges together every step of the way.”

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