In his live broadcast on Mar 24, 2022, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted that trust in the government played an important part in the nation’s fight against Covid-19.
The daily new cases over the last two weeks have been coming down and this is due to everyone’s collective effort, he said.
“We only achieved this through everyone’s collective effort. You understood the mission and did your part. Trusted the government, accepted sound medical advice, abided by safe management measures patiently and responsibly,” he said.
He added that though we are not yet at the finish line, we are getting closer.
“Key to our response has been the trust that Singaporeans have placed in your government, in the medical authorities and in each other throughout our journey, we have kept faith and supported one another. This solidarity remains crucial as we tackle fresh challenges ahead,” he said.
PM Lee also announced the key changes to the country’s safe management measures, which he described as a decisive step forward. They are:
- Group gatherings to increase from five to 10 people
- Mask-wearing outdoors will be optional but encouraged
- 75 per cent of employees can return to office
- Capacity limit for larger events will be increase to 75 per cent
- A simplified Vaccinated Travel Framework to make Singaporeans travel easier
These new measures will be in effect Mar 29, 2022.
Thanking our healthcare workers
PM Lee also thanked our healthcare workers for all their hard work and tremendous sacrifices.
“You made tremendous sacrifices at the heavy personal cost. Pulling long shifts day after day, week after week since the start of the pandemic, returning to work on rest days to cover for colleagues who caught the virus, putting up with all the safety measures at the hospitals, risking exposure as you cared for infected patients. Because of you, we have maintained some semblance of normalcy in the past two years… So to our healthcare and frontline workers, from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of a grateful nation, I want to say thank you.” he said.
Even though restrictions will be eased on Mar 29, 2022 with today’s announcement, PM Lee added that the Multi-Ministry Taskforce is mindful not to stress healthcare workers and the system to breaking point.
“We must not place an impossible burden on the health care workers and endanger many Covid and non Covid patients who urgently need treatment,” he said.
A measured approach
Although other countries that have taken a “Freedom Day” approach, PM Lee said that those countries are anxiously watching the infection and mortality numbers rising rapidly again.
“We are choosing to maintain our measured approach which has served us well over the past two years. After this major step we will wait a while to let the situation stabilise. If all goes well, we will ease up further,” he said.
He continued by saying that Singapore must be psychologically prepared for more twists and turns and that the Omicron variant will not be the last variant and if a more deadly mutation turned up like Delta did, restrictions may tighten again.
PM Lee hoped that Singaporeans can take the announcements in the right spirit: enjoy larger gatherings, go outdoors without masks, reunited with loved ones abroad, but test oneself if unwell and isolate if Covid-19 positive.
“Let us all continue to exercise personal and social responsibility to keep ourselves well to keep others safe and to avoid adding to the burden on our healthcare workers.”
You can watch the address here.
Cover photo credit: PM Lee Facebook page