Singapore tightens rules amid COVID spike

Leaders are urging firms to work from home as much as possible following a recent rise in cases

Singapore tightens rules amid COVID spike

Over the May Day weekend, Singapore revealed stricter measures amidst a sudden rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, including the country’s first-ever hospital cluster. Leaders urged residents to limit social gatherings to two per day and for employers to allow staff to work-from-home as much as possible.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the tightened measures is necessary to curb the spread of the virus and avoid going into a second Circuit Breaker, which would be a “major setback” for everyone and the economy. In his May Day speech, he said that “it’s not time to relax yet” and “not let our guard down”.

READ MORE: May Day 2021: 'Employers must continue to stay vigilant'

The ongoing cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has grown to 35 cases since a nurse tested positive on April 27. What's more, one of the elderly patients who contracted the virus had died from complications related to COVID-19 after testing positive on April 28, revealed the Ministry of Health.

“Our testing is ongoing and we expect to detect more cases in the coming days,” Minister Gan Kim Yong said during a press conference (May 1). “To reduce spread from undetected cases in the community, we will also close all public places visited by the cases during their likely infectious period for two days for cleaning. This will also facilitate testing of the staff and workers at these affected areas.

“We are monitoring this particular cluster at TTSH very closely. The next few days will be critical. If we find many more cases that suggest widespread transmission, we will have to introduce more measures to break the chain of transmission.

“This recent increase in cases is yet another reminder that the virus is alive and circulating. And we will have to continue to be vigilant because we remain vulnerable once we let our guards down. We must continue to be socially responsible and stick to the safe management measures including for those who have been vaccinated.”

READ MORE: Singapore ‘safest place to be’ during pandemic

The following new COVID-19 rules will take effect from May 1st to 14th:

  • Public should limit social gatherings to two a day, with a limit of eight pax per gathering
  • Employers should allow staff to work from home as much as possible and avoid social gatherings
  • Malls to enforce stricter crowd-control and occupancy limits
  • All attractions to operate at 50% capacity – lower than the prior-approved limit of 65%
  • Outdoor barbecue pits and campsites to be closed temporarily

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