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Covid-19: Govt could have done better but 'ultimately, everyone in Singapore kept safe', says PM Lee

SINGAPORE — While there are certainly areas where the Government could have done better to tackle Covid-19, it has ultimately been able to keep everyone in Singapore, including migrant workers, safe with few lives lost to the disease, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday (Aug 8).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his 2021 National Day message.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his 2021 National Day message.

  • There are areas where the Govt could have done better against Covid-19, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
  • However, it has been able to keep everyone safe, with few lives lost, said Mr Lee
  • He made the remarks as part of his National Day message
  • He acknowledged that many S’poreans were disappointed by the latest round of restrictions
  • S’pore is in a more resilient position now and can look forward to reopening its economy, he said

 

SINGAPORE — While there are certainly areas where the Government could have done better to tackle Covid-19, it has ultimately been able to keep everyone in Singapore, including migrant workers, safe with few lives lost to the disease, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday (Aug 8).

He noted that the country’s battle against the coronavirus has seen “many ups and downs”.

“In Singapore, each time we think we are getting it under control, it has surprised us,” said Mr Lee in his annual National Day message ahead of Singapore’s 56th birthday on Monday.

His message was pre-recorded at the Symphony Lake at Singapore Botanic Gardens and broadcast on news channel CNA at 6.45pm.

Mr Lee said that the discovery of a major Covid-19 cluster at Jurong Fishery Port recently had led to the virus spreading to wet markets across the island.

“This put our unvaccinated elderly at risk. We had to tighten up again, to slow down the transmission, protect our seniors and buy time to vaccinate more people,” explained Mr Lee.

On July 20, the ministerial task force on Covid-19 had imposed Phase Two (heightened alert) from July 22 to Aug 18 to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

During this phase, dining in is banned. The measures also limit the number of people allowed to gather from five to two, and cap the distinct visitors for each household daily from five to two.

This came just weeks after the cap for dining in was increased to five from July 12 as other restrictions were eased. 

Mr Lee acknowledged that many Singaporeans were disappointed at the turn of events.

“It felt like a setback after all the progress we had made,” he added.

However, he stressed that the Government's goal has always been to protect both lives and livelihoods.

It did so by striking a “difficult balance” through a combination of public health measures, social discipline and financial support for families, workers and businesses, said Mr Lee.

“There are certainly areas where we could have done better. But ultimately, we have kept everyone in Singapore, including migrant workers, safe,” said Mr Lee.

Few people had also died from the virus, he noted.

To date, 42 people here have died after contracting the coronavirus.

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S’PORE IN MORE RESILIENT POSITION NOW

He pointed out that 1 per cent of the population are receiving their vaccinations daily, with more than two-thirds of residents fully vaccinated.

Among the elderly, more than 85 per cent have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and a higher proportion of the population is now better protected.

“We are in a more resilient position. We can now look forward to a careful, step-by-step reopening of our economy. This is how we can move into the new normal,” said Mr Lee.

Last Friday, the task force said that it would relax measures from Tuesday onwards and move towards a “preparatory stage” of living with an endemic Covid-19 until early September.

During this stage, there will be differentiated measures for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Mr Lee also acknowledged that the fight against Covid-19 has taken a toll on Singaporeans and urged the public to watch out for signs of fatigue, distress or anguish among family and friends.

The Mandarin broadcast of the message, which will be delivered by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, will be on Channel 8 and Capital 958 radio station at 9.45pm.

The Malay version delivered by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli will be aired on Suria at 8.30pm.

The Tamil message delivered by Transport Minister S Iswaran will be available on Vasantham and Oli 968 radio station at 9pm.

The message will subsequently be available on the Prime Minister Office’s website and YouTube channel in all four languages after the first broadcasts.

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National Day Lee Hsien Loong Covid-19 coronavirus

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