Singapore PM says can relax social curbs if local virus situation improves

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Singapore should be able to relax recently imposed restrictions on social gatherings after two weeks if the local COVID-19 situation continues to improve, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.

“The number of daily cases has come down. Barring another super-spreader or big cluster, we should be on track to bring this outbreak under control,” Lee said in a speech.

The current restrictions are to last until June 13.

Lee also said he expected two-thirds of residents to have received at least one dose of a vaccine by early July and that contact tracing and testing would be increased and expedited. He said he had received confirmation of faster deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines over the next two months.

Singapore re-imposed some restrictions on social gatherings this month, the toughest since exiting a lockdown last year, to combat a recent spike in local COVID-19 infections.

Although Singapore’s cases are only a fraction of those recorded in neighbouring countries, the outbreak follows months of reporting few or no local cases each day. Authorities say the new measures are working.

The city-state has been using the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and has taken delivery of 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccines, although it has yet to be granted emergency use authorization.

The island-state confirmed 16 new local COVID-19 cases on Monday, down from a high of 38 on May 16.

Photo: A person walks past the Merlion Statue and the financial district in Singapore. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON