Singapore is (almost) on Lockdown - New Tighter measures to minimize spread of Covid19



Singapore is on the brink of a lockdown



New measures announced tonight to curb the spread of COVID-19 signals what is to come. With the recent spike in imported cases and the corresponding rise of Unlink Cases, the government had proceeded to tighten movements in Singapore.



IMPORTED CASES AND UNLINKED CASES FROM MARCH 5
Dates
Imported Cases
Unlink Cases 
Official Unlink Tally
5
1
0
12
6
2
1
12
7
0
1
13
8
1
1
14
9
3
0
14
10
0
1
9
11
8
2
10
12
5
0
9
13
9
1
10
14
9
1
11
15
9
0
11
16
11
2
12
17
17
4
16
18
33
5
17
19
24
6
23
20
30
3
24
21
39
6
31
22
18
2
31
22
48
6
31


Prior to tonight, short term visitors were barred from entering or transiting through Singapore. Safe distancing measures were also introduced. We had warned about a community spread might have already started judging from the rise in unlink cases together with the imported cases here. The reported unlink cases for the day rose to 13, the first double-digit cases since the start of the pandemic.

On March 24 evening, new measures will be taking effect from March 26 2359, these measures will be in place until 30 Apr 2020

Gatherings outside work and school are to limit to 10 persons or fewer at any one time. This would include funerals and a wedding.

 All events regardless of size must be deferred or cancelled.

Specific guidelines are provided for selected industry

Entertainment Venues
1 All bars and entertainment venues like night clubs, discos, cinemas theatres, karaoke outlets will be closed.

2 Other public venues such as retail malls, museums and attractions may remain open. However, operators are to ensure the following

  • Reduce operating capacity within the venue at any one time. The venue does not have more than 1 person per 16 sq m of usable space. This implies one person is allowed at a 4 x 4 meters space. 
  • Groups must not exceed 10 persons. Shows within attractions (indoor and outdoor), group tours at museums, and open atrium sales will be suspended
  • Disperse congregations and provide an environment that allows at least one metre physical spacing between patrons. these include queues and waiting areas. Operators are encouraged to offer services by appointment or through digital services where possible, to minimise queues. Crowds should be quickly dispersed.
This means CASINO, USS, ZOO, Gardens by the Bay and other attractions might remain open if the operation can support this ruling.

3 Retail malls and attractions that are unable to adhere to these requirements must be closed. Additional penalties may be imposed on those which found to have been a place of transmission of COVID-19, if venues are found not to have adhered to these requirements.

4 Organised tours in public venues ( eg sightseeing tours) will be suspended

5 Existing measures for F & B venues to apply. Other activities such as live music or karaoke will have to cease. F & B outlets must set up their spaces to ensure separation of at least one metre between tables or different groups of diners.

  • Related diners can seat together at one table.
  • Groups of diners should be limited to 10 persons or fewer
  • Eating establishment with fixed seatings ( hawker centres/coffee shops) must use alternate seating.s Premise managers should mark out seats to facilitate these arrangements
Tuition and Enrichment Centres
All centre-based tuition and enrichment classes will be suspended. This is to reduce the intermingling of students from different schools to enhance the safety of students

Religious Activities
All religious services and congregations will be suspended. Places of worship may remain open for private worship and essential rites, subject to a group size of 10 persons or few at any one time. 

Events
All events and mass gathering to be deferred or cancelled regardless of size.

Singaporeans are advised holding and participating in social events and gatherings involving more than 10 persons at any one time. This includes birthdays and weddings. Funerals and wakes should be limited to family members with gatherings of 10 or fewer people.

Workplaces
Existing measures for workplaces to continue. Tele-conferencing should be used in place of physical meetings. Employees can perform their work by telecommuting from home where possible.

Senior activities
Suspension of activities for seniors extended to 30 April 2020. Seniors with underlying chronic medical conditions to avoid social gatherings and crowded places and only go out for essential purposes.

Enhanced precautions for US / UK Returnees
Returnees from US and UK will require dedicated facilities to serve their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities provided by hotels. They will be arranged to be send directly from the airport to the hotel. Each will have their own room and meals provided. This will take effect from March 25 2359.

Regulation under Infection Disease Act
Any SHN breach will result in a fine of less than $10000 or imprisonment of less than 6 months or both. Temporary suspension of operations may be used against persons and operators found to be non-compliant with the regulations.

Singapore Residents and Long Term Pass holders who disregard Travel Advisory
Any Singapore Resident or LTP Holder who leaves Singapore from 27 March in disregard with the prevailing travel advisories will be charged at unsubsidized rates for their inpatient stay at public hospitals if they are admitted for suspected COVID-19 and have the onset of symptoms within 14 days of returning to Singapore. Singapore residents will not be able to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans for these treatments at public or private hospitals.

Any work pass holders or dependant who leaves Singapore from 27 March will be deprioritised for entry approval and could see significant delays before they are allowed to return to Singapore if they persist to travel and return infected.

Commencement of Community Isolation Facility
D'resort at NTUC (1 Pasir Ris Close with a maximum capacity of 500 persons will be operational from 24 March. Patients who are clinically well to be discharged but still test positive for COVID-19 will be placed in the facility for isolation and care.

The facility will be modelled after existing Government Quarantine Facilities. Cost of isolation will be borne by the Government.

LOA for Students ( Primary and preschool )  who are staying in the same household as returnee
Students staying in the same household as a person who has returned to Singapore from any country from Wednesday 25 March 2359 will be placed on 14 days LOA

Students staying the same household as a person who had returned to Singapore from the UK, US or ASEAN countries on or after 14 March 2020 will be placed on LOA. The Students's LOA will start from the day the person in the household returned to Singapore


What may happen next
The following observations are base on personal views of the author. These ARE NOT the views of the government

Schools may be suspended. 
With the new measure restriction a gathering of less  than 10 persons outside school and work, there is a possibility that schools may be suspended. The ruling runs contrary to a school set up where hundreds of students gathered for long hours in one location . If logic applies , schools should be suspended . The only issue now is the logistics of teaching the children at home and the arrangements a parent must make . Nonetheless , if the nation goes on full lockdown , the latter concern will be address.

Lockdown may be in the cards
Theses measures resemble a lockdown in some parts. If you were to follow the course of action in other countries, a lockdown would seem inevitable should the situation worsen

Jobs to be affected
With the month-long closure, some business may be affected and staff would be affected. Moreover, some of the measures such as additional penalties should the retail outlet be found as a source of transmission may cause more shops to close as a precaution. Expected job losses, no pay leave, pay reduction to occur to keep the business viable.

Support Package on March 26 to include cash payout to those who are affected by this among other measures.
Expect cash payouts to those who lose their jobs or are retrench during this period.  Suspension of home mortgages or income tax payment might be in the works as well to address this period where income may be impacted. As for companies that are affected by the lockdown, rental support or waivers may be in the card

Expect a reaction in the Stock Market if Lockdown occurs
If you are in the market, it might be wise to hedge your bets now.

Stay Safe!






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