New measures to keep as many people at home as possible will be deemed successful when the rate of new local Covid-19 cases here slows down, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
“What we would like to see as a result of all of these measures is the slowing down of the number of local cases… particularly in the number of local unlinked cases. Those are the key indicators we look out for,” said the co-chair of the multi-ministry task force combating the coronavirus.
To deal with a rising number of new and, especially, unlinked cases in recent days, the Government will put in place tough new social distancing measures that include the closure of most workplaces, a shift to full home-based learning in schools and a “takeaways only” policy at hawker centres, coffee shops, restaurants, and other food and beverage outlets.
Mr Wong said these measures are being paired with enhanced contact tracing efforts by the authorities as part of a two-pronged strategy to combat the virus.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the task force with Mr Wong, said Singapore is continuing to ramp up its contact tracing capacity with support from the police, the Singapore Armed Forces and other manpower resources.
The increased manpower will allow Singapore to continue with its contact tracing efforts despite the increasing number of cases, said Mr Gan.
He added: “Contact tracing will continue to play a very central role in our efforts to contain and manage the outbreak of Covid-19.
“But what is also important is (the) support and cooperation of Singaporeans with regard to our safe distancing measures, because if we are able to keep the safe distance, this will… help slow down the transmission and allow us to have greater capacity to contact trace whatever cases we see.”
Mr Wong said that given the extra effort that is being put into contact tracing, Singapore can fight back against the virus if people here are disciplined about abiding by the spirit of the new circuit-breaker measures.
“With both moving in parallel, we have a chance of bringing down the number of local cases significantly and reducing the number of unlinked cases,” he said.
He added: “It really comes down to a national effort. This is no longer the work of the Government alone. It is no longer the work of contact tracers alone. All of us must now do our part to slow down the spread of the virus.”