Phase 3 reopening plan to be revealed in coming weeks: DPM Heng
Multi-ministry task force will release details in coming weeks
More details on when Singapore will enter the third stage of its phased reopening will be released by the multi-ministry task force in the coming weeks, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.
This road map will include the expected timeline for moving to phase three, changes to current regulations on the size of group gatherings and participation at mass events, Mr Heng told Parliament.
He was giving a ministerial statement on Singapore's fight against Covid-19, its fiscal position, and strategies for the country to emerge stronger from this crisis.
Phase two of Singapore's reopening was meant to last several months, even as more measures are lifted, while phase three will be the "new normal" until a vaccine or treatment is found for Covid-19.
Last month, task force co-chairman Lawrence Wong said the Government was already working on a road map for the third and final phase, and that such plans would be shared when they were ready.
Yesterday, Mr Heng, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Finance Minister, said there are profound uncertainties ahead.
"In our fight against Covid-19, we are currently in a stable position, but we must remain vigilant. Amid the uncertainties, we are adapting to living with the virus."
To further reopen safely in the coming months, Singapore is adopting a four-pronged strategy to put itself in the best position to fight Covid-19, he said.
These four areas are: securing early access to effective vaccines, enhancing testing capabilities, conducting swift contact tracing and isolation of infected individuals, and adhering to safe management measures.
On vaccines, Singapore is working very actively to secure early access to safe and effective vaccines, if and when they become available.
Mr Heng noted that Singapore is an early supporter of the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) Facility, which accelerates the development and production of, and equitable access to potential Covid-19 vaccines.
Together with Switzerland, Singapore co-chairs the Friends of the Covax Facility to promote vaccine multilateralism.
On testing, the country has also increased polymerase chain reaction tests manifold, and is close to its target of being able to conduct 40,000 laboratory tests a day.
"We are also evaluating new testing technologies that are less invasive and can produce test results more quickly. This enhanced testing capability will help us safely resume more activities sooner," Mr Heng added.
As for contact tracing and isolating infected people, he said doing so swiftly was key to limiting the spread of the virus.
"Our contact tracing teams are doing a sterling job, and using digital tools well. The TraceTogether app, together with tokens that are being distributed nationwide, and the SafeEntry programme, enable contact tracing to reach the speed and coverage needed to rapidly contain viral transmission."
Safe management measures must also continue to be adhered to. "Keeping community infections low is the key to reopening our economy safely," he added.