Singapore’s circuit breaker measures have been extended to June 1. However, even once the measures are relaxed, the country’s economy will not restart all at once, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday.
In a televised May Day address, PM Lee said that the economy, which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, will have to open up “step by step”.
“We need to step up COVID-19 testing and speed up contact-tracing. And we must proceed cautiously, with safeguards, so infections do not flare up again,” he said. “Some industries will open up earlier than others and recover sooner.”
Singapore’s COVID-19 tally crossed 17,000 on May 1. While community cases have shown a decline in numbers, the cases among migrant workers have increased sharply.
PM Lee warned that all industries cannot open at once, especially the tourism and aviation industries, which will take longer to recover, especially with restrictions on international travel which are likely to remain for quite some time around the world.
“Other sectors will have to wait, especially those which attract crowds or involve close contact with other people, such as entertainment outlets and large-scale sporting events,” he added. “We must keep all these different industries intact, ready to resume business when conditions allow.”
PM Lee also pledged government support for national carrier Singapore Airlines, saying that they will “spare no effort” to help SIA.
“SIA has always flown Singapore’s flag high all over the world, and made us proud. We will spare no effort to enable it to do so again,” he said.