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'Encouraging signs' on Covid-19 situation but S'pore not out of the woods yet: PM Lee

SINGAPORE — With the surge in Covid-19 cases in Singapore over the last three months now subsiding, the nation is starting to see "encouraging signs" in its fight against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday (Dec 13).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pictured) said that the Community Development Council vouchers are meant to support shops and hawker stalls in neighbourhoods that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pictured) said that the Community Development Council vouchers are meant to support shops and hawker stalls in neighbourhoods that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the declining number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore is "encouraging" 
  • However, Singapore is not out of the woods yet
  • He also announced that every Singaporean household will each receive S$100 worth of Community Development Council vouchers

SINGAPORE — With the surge in Covid-19 cases in Singapore over the last three months now subsiding, the nation is starting to see "encouraging signs" in its fight against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday (Dec 13).

Although Singapore is "not yet out of the woods", Mr Lee said he is confident that the country will be able to cope with the new Omicron variant with help from Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots. 

Singapore reported 370 new Covid-19 cases and five deaths as of noon on Sunday, a drop from more than 3,000 cases reported in early October when it changed its Covid-19 strategy from one of elimination to living with the coronavirus. 

Mr Lee was speaking at the launch of the Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers, where he announced that every Singaporean household will each receive S$100 worth of the vouchers from Monday. They may be used at participating hawker centres and businesses in the heartlands. 

These vouchers are meant to support shops and hawker stalls in neighbourhoods that have been hit hard by the pandemic, as well as to show the Government's appreciation to the people for "bearing with us" through these difficult times, Mr Lee said. 

Costing S$130 million, the voucher scheme is part of a wider S$900 support package for households announced earlier this year during the Budget. 

These vouchers have to be claimed by Dec 31, 2022. 

HOW TO USE THE VOUCHERS

The vouchers will be available in a digital format for easier use, Mr Lee said. 

"Merchants should be able to track their transactions better, and receive their payments faster and with less hassle. And residents, too, can have the convenience and flexibility of digital vouchers," Mr Lee said.

One member of each household will need to go to go.gov.sg/cdcv and login with his or her Singpass to claim the CDC vouchers. 

The vouchers come in S$2, S$5 and S$10 denominations. 

A link with the vouchers will be sent to the mobile phone of the person, who can then share that link with other family members. 

To claim the voucher, residents just have to click the voucher link, select the amount they want to spend, which then shows a QR code that can be scanned by the merchant. 

Mr Lee said that close to 10,000 heartland merchants will be taking part in this scheme. 

Ms Low Yen Ling, who is the mayor of South West CDC, said that participating merchants can be identified with a teal-colour decal. 

For residents who may find it difficult to digitally claim the vouchers, they can get help at community centres and clubs, as well as at residents' committees in areas where there is a higher proportion of seniors.

"If you are unable to access the vouchers digitally, for example, if you do not have a smart phone, physical vouchers will be available at the community centres and clubs," Mr Lee said. 

Seniors without household members to help them claim their CDC vouchers, as well as those who are digitally less savvy, will be given priority at the community centres and clubs. 

When asked about what the Government will do with unclaimed vouchers at the end of next year, Ms Low said that it is keeping a close eye on the number of vouchers claimed.

"We are optimistic that fellow Singaporeans will go ahead and claim and spend the vouchers at the neighbouring heartlands," she said. 

The CDCs will also remind Singaporeans to use the vouchers, and they should receive a letter notifying them about it by the end of Tuesday.

Mr Khoo Chee Hau, 37, who has been selling fruits at Jurong West for at least the past 20 years, said that the digital CDC vouchers are easy to use. 

Before the pandemic, he might have found it weird to use a mobile phone to scan QR codes, but with all the SafeEntry scanning requirements to enter most places, he finds the whole process simple. 

Mr Abdul Malik, 48, who has been running a nasi padang stall at a Jurong West coffee shop for the last 11 years, also said that the process is very easy and he has not faced any problems so far. 

He was involved when the previous tranche of CDC vouchers were issued and residents had to carry with them the physical vouchers to claim them.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus Omicron voucher Community Development Council CDC hawker business

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