Possible easing of COVID restrictions after 13 June if community cases fall further: Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his national address on 23 June 2020. (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information)
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his national address on 23 June 2020. (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information)

SINGAPORE — The government should be able to ease COVID-19 safe management restrictions after 13 June if the pandemic situation continues to improve and the number of community cases falls further, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (31 May).

In a national televised address, Lee was giving an update on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore.

He noted that there had been new clusters of COVID-19 infections and unlinked cases, implying a community spread. Consequently, Singapore had to step back from Phase 3 and implement Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) to reduce social interaction and new infections, Lee said.

The restrictions under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), which took effect on 16 May and will last until 13 June, include no dining-in at all food and beverage establishments, and social gathering size capped at two persons per group.

Because of the support and cooperation of everyone, the number of daily cases has come down, Lee said.

“Barring another super-spreader or big cluster, we should be on track to bring this outbreak under control. We will know for sure in another week or so,” he added.

In the meantime, Lee said he is counting on everyone to maintain efforts and stay vigilant in the pandemic.

COVID-19 to become endemic

As Singapore tackles its COVID-19 situation, other countries such as India, Malaysia, Australia and Vietnam are facing an increase in cases, Lee said.

While the pandemic will subside one day, Lee said he does not expect COVID-19 to disappear. “It will remain with humankind, and become endemic. The virus will continue to circulate in pockets of the global population for years to come.”

As such, there will be small outbreaks of the disease from time to time including in Singapore, he added.

In the new normal, COVID-19 will not dominate lives while daily activities and travel will resume. People will be mostly vaccinated, and possibly taking booster shots every year, Lee said.

“And eventually we will even go about without masks again, at least outdoors. Right now, we are some ways off from this happy state, but we are heading in the right direction.”

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