Singapore is entering a new phase in its fight against COVID-19, said Minister Lawrence Wong, Co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on the novel coronavirus.
At a press conference at National Press Centre on March 6, he explained that in this new phase, border controls will become less effective. This is due to the fact that one cannot identify a clear epidemic centre outside of Singapore anymore.
"Increasingly it will be harder and harder to do because the virus is everywhere," he said, adding that with undetected cases everywhere in the world, Singapore cannot isolate and shut itself off from the world.
However, Wong emphasised that the country is not helpless in this scenario. "We have to redouble our efforts within Singapore. Increasingly, individual and social responsibilities have become a more important part of the defence."
Urging Singaporeans to raise their level of personal hygiene, public hygiene, and social responsibility, Wong said, "All these measures may seem quite simple but they really are effective to slow down the spread of the virus."
He raised the example of the current virus clusters in the country, noting that a lot of them came about from social, religious and workplace gatherings of people, as well as close contact of people. "Often, the virus spreads from an infected person who is symptomatic but continues with his or her gathering. So being responsible if you are sick and not going out may seem like very simple things to do, but they are of vital importance."
Wong added, "With all of these measures, even if we have more imported cases, we hope we will be able to slow down the spread of virus and continue to contain the spread within Singapore itself."