Singapore ‘on the knife’s edge’ but could get COVID under control: Lawrence Wong

Lawrence Wong speaking in parliament May 2021. Photo: MCI/YouTube
Lawrence Wong speaking in parliament May 2021. Photo: MCI/YouTube

Singapore’s COVID spiral could be under control by the end of the month, according to a politician charged with helping steer the nation’s response.

In a parliamentary update on the country’s COVID-19 situation, Lawrence Wong said things could get better this month if the public treads carefully and does not spread the disease. His comments come after weeks of steadily rising cases following months during which few were detected.

“I think it’s very important for us to understand that we are now on the knife’s edge and our community cases can go either way over the next few weeks,” he said in Parliament today, referring to case counts that exclude migrant laborers.

“We have the chance of getting things under control by the end of the month but as we know from experience, it only takes one lapse or one irresponsible action for an infection to spread and that infection may end up being a super-spreader event in the community.” 

As to why borders have not been completely shut to minimize the spread of infection, Wong said trade and travel are the “lifeblood” of Singapore, which cannot sustain itself in the same way as “resource-rich” countries such as China, Australia, and New Zealand.

He added that Singapore can keep borders closed but “not over a prolonged duration.”

Wong said the country’s capabilities have “significantly strengthened” with larger testing capacities, “more pervasive” use of the contract tracing technologies Tracetogether and Safe Entry, and widespread vaccination of most of the elderly and frontline workers. About 1.8 million people have had at least one shot so far.

Singapore saw the recent outbreaks at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, migrant worker dormitories, among workers from Papua New Guinea, and, most recently, Changi Airport.  

Singapore yesterday recorded 19 cases, totalling to 61,378 cases with 31 deaths since the outbreak began. 

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