SINGAPORE – In the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, the front door of every home is the front line, and people should try not to venture beyond it as Singapore hunkers down to curb infections, said Ministers Indranee Rajah and Desmond Lee on Thursday night (April 9) as they urged people not to leave home in the next few weeks.
Ms Indranee added in an interview with media on Saturday that building social resilience will also be vital in the battle against coronavirus in future.
To help make staying at home positive and purposeful, the Government has launched the Stay Home for Singapore portal which links people to resources they can use to remain active, stay connected to the community and also volunteer or seek help.
In Facebook posts on Thursday, the two ministers acknowledged that asking people to stop socialising and to temporarily cut physical contact with their loved ones during the four weeks of circuit breaking that started on April 7 goes against human instinct and will feel unnatural for many.
But they urged people to focus on the good that will come from it.
“It is tough, and it will be painful and difficult for many of us. But by staying at home, not going out unless necessary, and reducing our social interactions, we are actually playing our part in the biggest fight of our generation,” said Mr Lee, who is Minister for Social and Family Development.
“This is a fight that we must go all out to win. By staying home, we seek to break the chain of viral infection and save lives. By keeping to our own family during this time, we are joining hands all across Singapore to fight this virus.”
Said Ms Indranee: “It seems so strange. We are at war with an invisible enemy. Human instinct impels us to spring into action, to get out there and do something. Yet paradoxically, in this situation, we find that the single most important thing we can do – for our country, for our loved ones and for each other – is to stay home.”
The two ministers who lead the Singapore Together movement – helmed by fourth-generation leaders to partner Singaporeans in the policymaking process – also stressed that it is critical for all in Singapore, including the people and the Government, to work together.
Describing it as “possibly the most important partnership we have embarked on”, Ms Indranee said: “Quite literally, our lives depend on every partner – every person living in Singapore – doing their bit.”
During an interview over virtual meeting app Zoom on Saturday, Ms Indranee added that while staying home all the time may not be easy, this period also presents opportunities for people to re-connect with friends and family and reassess their priorities.
The aim of the portal is to help people make meaningful and purposeful use of their time, she said.
The resources are organised under four categories:
– “Thrive” provides links to online art exhibitions, recipes and exercise plans.
– “Connect” provides links to community groups such as Roses for Peace and social media initiatives such as the #StayhomeforSG Challenge .
– “Help Others” provides links to initiatives people can volunteer for or donate to, such as ChopeAndSave which lets people buy gift cards to support local businesses affected by the economic slowdown and Covid-19 Tutoring Support for Students which provides free tutoring.
– “Get Help” provides links to counselling services and government services for those who need financial assistance or just want to talk to someone.
The portal will be constantly updated with new content, said both ministers.
Ms Indranee said during Saturday’s interview that fostering social resilience will be a very important and crucial part of the fight against the spread of Covid-19 for the years beyond.
“We want people to understand that they’re all part of a bigger battle, and to have that mental will and discipline to be able to stay home, but at the same time support those who are weaker and vulnerable because they are part of a wider community,” she added.
“But beyond the one month, what are the things that we will need to do, what are the changes that we will make that may come out of this? Because, for sure, the post Covid-19 world is not going to be the same as the pre Covid-19 world.”