'Very unlikely' to resume Phase 3 straight after 13 June: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE — While there are signs that the community spread of COVID-19 is coming under control, it is "very unlikely" that Singapore will immediately revert to Phase 3 of its re-opening when Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) ends on 13 June, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (31 May).

"We will have to do this gradually...so there is some chance of relaxation, but in a controlled and calibrated manner," said Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19.

Addressing reporters at a virtual press conference, Wong noted that the situation remains highly fluid, in response to a question on whether there might be another spike in COVID-19 cases.

"If we monitor over time and we see new risks emerging, new clusters emerging, more unlinked cases which we are not able to track down and pin down, then it may suggest that this is continuing, a little bit more than we are comfortable with, and therefore we may have to take additional restrictions or precautions and safeguards, based on the data," he added.

Earlier, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung noted that the number of community cases in the past 14 days – one full infection cycle – has fallen. By dividing the past 14 days into two halves, the first seven days (17-23 May) saw 182 cases, followed by 136 cases in the next seven days.

In addition, the percentage of unlinked cases has also fallen from 22 per cent of all cases to 18 per cent.

One key method for controlling and monitoring infections is testing, Ong said. In the second half of May, on average, more than 55,000 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Antigen Rapid Test (ART) tests were conducted each day, according to Ong.

"All in all, we are nudging in the right direction, but just nudging, and controlling the situation," said Ong.

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