It is still too early to tell at this stage how the COVID-19 outbreak will unfold in Singapore, said Minister Lawrence Wong, Co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on the novel coronavirus.
"For now, what we do know is that the virus is circulating within our population," Wong explained at the COVID-19 Press Conference at National Press Centre on February 12.
This is the reason why Singapore has since moved to DORSCON Orange on Friday, February 7. There are now more cases that are not linked, and which do not have any links to China. In response, authorities have stepped up surveillance and are conducting more testing of cases.
With more cases expected in the coming days and weeks, there may be a need for additional measures that involve social distancing in order to try and reduce the chance of the virus spreading further, Wong added.
He also commented on the wave of panic buying that kicked in when DORSCON was raised to Orange. "The situation has stabilised," he said. "To meet that sudden surge in demand, the retailers had to move stock very quickly from the warehouse into the retail outlets."
He added that Singapore's diversification strategy ensures that the country is protected from any sudden shocks. "That has been proven, even with this last wave of sudden surge in demand, we were able to meet that demand," he said.
Assuring Singaporeans that the island's supply chains remain robust, Wong warned that it is times like this that shows how challenging it is to get accurate information out.
He assured that the government is doubling down on efforts to deliver timely and accurate information. "In today's world of social media, fear, uncertainty and panic spreads a lot faster on social media than the truth, which is boring and nobody wants to share."