Pupils wearing face masks returned to school in Singapore yesterday and some workplaces reopened as coronavirus restrictions were eased in the hard-hit city-state.
Singapore initially kept infections low through a strict regime of testing and contact-tracing, only for major outbreaks to emerge from crowded dormitories housing low-paid foreign workers.
The country has recorded over 35,000 cases — the highest official tally in Southeast Asia — with the vast majority among workers from the dorms. The death toll stands at 24.
Authorities imposed a partial lockdown in early April, with schools and most workplaces told to close, and people only allowed to leave home for essential purposes. But with new infections slowing and no major outbreaks outside dorms, the government began easing measures yesterday, with certain age groups allowed back to school and some workplaces re-opening. Pupils had their temperatures checked as they arrived at one pre-school following the lengthy break.
Cheryl Chan, who was dropping off her five-year-old son, said he was “super-excited”. “He woke up early in the morning telling me ‘Mama it’s time for me to brush my teeth and go to school’,” she said. Chan said she felt “happy, definitely, a little relieved as well” by the loosening of restrictions.
In the first phase of loosening the lockdown, manufacturing firms, air conditioning maintenance businesses and pet shops are among those allowed to re-open.
A third of the workforce is expected to resume activity under yesterday’s easing, but the rest — including most office staff — must continue from home if they can, and those not covered are still only allowed out for essential reasons. While there were more people out and about yesterday morning, the subway and streets remained relatively quiet. After facing criticism over the migrant worker outbreak, the government announced on Monday it would build new dormitories with improved standards, such as reducing the number of people per room.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Holiday hotspot Fiji eyes virus-free tourism bubble
Fashion masks a hit as Indonesians and Malaysians seek style in safety
Govt sets sights on 1mn Covid-19 tests by July
Rohingya at sea pulled to safety by Indonesians
More police officials deployed to implement curbs in Cebu City
Duterte approves bill to upgrade hospitals
Protests mark anniversary of Thai revolution
Nearly 100 Rohingya rescued off Indonesia
Thai kids rehearse school return with sanitisers, screens and face shields