SINGAPORE — While Singaporeans are not able to celebrate in their usual way amid COVID-19, they are determined to hold the National Day Parade as a symbol of unity as a nation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (9 August).
Delivering his National Day message, Lee said a smaller Parade would be held at the Padang, along with ceremonies at seven other locations around the island this morning.
“Each location will symbolise one aspect of our response to COVID-19 – Providing medical care for Singaporeans at NCID; supporting our workforce with skills and jobs at the Lifelong Learning Institute; keeping learning going for our students at North Vista Secondary School; or sustaining our community spirit at Kampung Admiralty,” he added.
With Singaporeans across the island and in far-flung lands joining the Parade virtually and celebrating with one another, they will share special moments like when the Red Lions land, the mobile column reaches the town areas, or the state flag is flown past, Lee said.
The COVID-19 crisis is far from over as Singapore braces for more economic difficulties ahead, according to Lee. The sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, as seen in other countries, can happen to Singapore despite precautions being taken.
“It will most likely take a year or two before a vaccine is widely available, and the threat of the virus is blunted...Business closures, retrenchments and unemployment are all likely to go up in the coming months,” Lee said.
Singaporeans need to be resilient in the face of the severe economic downturn but Lee said it is not the first economic crisis they have experienced, such as the Asian Financial Crisis (1997-1998) and the Global Financial Crisis (2007-2009).
“Each time the outlook was ominous, and we feared the worst, but each time we worked hard to secure our position, gritted our teeth, and came through together.”
Various measures have been put in place such as the Jobs Support Scheme and Self-employed Person Income Relief Scheme to ease the economic burden and help Singaporeans find new jobs and skills.
Lee expressed confidence that Singapore will get through this current crisis too, though it may take longer.
Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance, Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health, and S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, also delivered Lee’s National Day message in Mandarin, Malay and Tamil respectively.
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