Singapore brings in strict COVID-19 curbs

Chen LinAAP
A rise in COVID infections has prompted Singapore to strictly curb gatherings and public activities.
Camera IconA rise in COVID infections has prompted Singapore to strictly curb gatherings and public activities. Credit: EPA

Singapore has announced the strictest curbs on social gatherings and public activities since easing a COVID-19 lockdown last year, amid a rise in locally acquired infections and with new virus clusters forming in recent weeks.

The new measures announced on Friday by the health ministry, which will be in force from Sunday to mid June, include limiting social gatherings to two people and ceasing dining in at restaurants.

"This is clearly a setback in our fight against COVID-19, " said Lawrence Wong, the minister for education who co-chairs Singapore's coronavirus taskforce.

Working from home will also be made the default arrangement under the new measures.

The authorities said they will review the measures after two weeks to assess if adjustments are needed.

The Asian trade and financial hub had been reporting almost zero or single-digit daily local infections for months, before a recent rise in cases. On Thursday, it confirmed 24 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since mid-September driven partly by a cluster at Changi airport.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said given the rising infections it is "very likely" that Singapore would not meet the threshold for a long-delayed Hong Kong travel bubble, which was recently rescheduled to start in late May.

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