All Singapore organised guided tours, as well as entertainment venues such as bars, cinemas and theatres, will be shuttered from March 26, 23.59, to April 30, announced the government’s multi-ministry coronavirus task force yesterday (March 24).
It has also announced the suspension of all events and mass gatherings regardless of size. This includes shows within all attractions, group tours in museums, trade fairs and exhibitions. Social gatherings have also been limited to a maximum of ten persons.
Other venues where contact is transient, like shopping malls, museums, attractions and restaurants, will remain open, but operators are required to ensure there is no more than one person per 16m2 of usable space.
Furthermore, Singapore residents returning from the UK and the US from Wednesday (March 25), 23.59, will serve out their 14-day stay-home notices at dedicated hotels, instead of at home.
Any citizen who breaches the notice would be liable for a fine of less than S$10,000, or a jail term of less than six months, or both.
Additionally, Singapore residents or long-term pass holders who leave Singapore from March 27 will be charged unsubsidised rates should they be hospitalised in public hospitals for Covid-19 treatment.
The measures come as Singapore reported 49 new Covid-19 cases, including 32 imported cases, on Tuesday. This brings the country’s total to 558 cases.
Announcing the measures, national development minister Lawrence Wong described them as pre-emptive, but necessary at a time of high risk.
He said: “The threat of a widespread virus outbreak is very real because the imported cases are continuing to rise due to the large number of returning Singaporeans, and despite our best efforts to isolate these cases to ring-fence any new clusters that pop up, the risk of local transmission will rise as we have more imported cases. So we have to take seriously the measures to protect ourselves, our family members and the people around us.”
He added that the measures may be extended past April 30 “if the situation does not improve”.
Singapore’s deputy prime minister Heng Swee Keat said through a Facebook post that on Thursday (March 26), he will present “a further set of measures aimed at preserving jobs and livelihoods, helping viable companies stay afloat, and supporting (Singapore’s) households”.
“More support will be given to the most severely impacted sectors,” he assured.