Singapore shuts down non-essential businesses: Here’s what residents think of the new measures

Singapore had been seeing a small number of cases initially, about 10 a day. But over the previous week, the number had risen to as many as 50 a week.

Myupchar April 07, 2020 20:08:31 IST
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Singapore shuts down non-essential businesses: Here’s what residents think of the new measures

On 3 April, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that all non-essential businesses will remain closed for a month. He shared why as well - Singapore had been seeing a small number of cases initially, about 10 a day and most of them were returning Singaporeans. But over the previous week, despite the strict precautions in place, the number had risen to as many as 50 a week. More and more of these were caused by local transmission. And even though they were putting a lot of effort into contact tracing, they weren’t able to identify the source of transmission for many of them. He expressed concerns that some asymptomatic carriers may be going undetected and unknowingly spreading the disease, which is why the government wasn’t going to discourage the use of masks.

Singapore shuts down nonessential businesses Heres what residents think of the new measures

File image of Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. PTI

We spoke to a few Singapore residents to understand their reactions to the new measures announced: 

Neha: To be honest, it is not a complete lockdown. It’s better than most countries, we can still get takeaway from restaurants and get groceries. The lines for them aren’t long at all. Singapore is managing it really well, the government sends daily updates to everyone, informing us about the latest news on the novel coronavirus . The messages mention details about any death that has occurred (including expressing sympathies to the family), the number of total cases, how many are in the hospital, how may have been discharged and how many are in the ICU. There was even one on reusable masks - how the government will be distributing them to residents and why they are important. 

Xinyi: I think it’s understandable and important that everyone does their part to stop the situation from getting worse; better safe than sorry. There is a constant flow of information about the situation - the Prime Minister gave a speech yesterday and we are updated by Whatsapp chat a few times a day by the government. 

Angad: Technically, the lockdown begins from Tuesday but you can still do stuff like go for a walk or get a haircut. It just means you don’t have to go to work if your work is considered non-essential. But most companies were gradually moving to work from home anyway - I’ve been working from home for 2-3 weeks now, my wife and son have been for 2 weeks. Public schools were still open though. Most people here have complete trust in the government. Masks aren’t compulsory but the government is recommending we use them - they’ll be distributing them to all residents in the coming week I suppose. We’re taking all the precautions of properly cleaning anything we buy and throwing away the packaging when we order takeout. Getting groceries delivered online has become a pain though - you won’t be able to get a slot for at least 2-3 days.

Dewen: I think it’s a good measure taken by the government, to better manage the spread of the virus locally. It is definitely mandatory, even though, at the same time, this crucial decision is affecting jobs as well. Some employees have had to use their sick days or take unpaid leaves during the lockdown as job tasks have significantly reduced. But Singaporeans who lost their jobs or those who took a pay cut can seek help from the government and receive cash aid during these difficult times. 

Mattoo: Singapore is calling it a circuit breaker. Most offices will be shut down, essential services will remain open. I think some financial institutions will remain open. The general public doesn't really know what the new laws entail: we know we can go out for groceries, for morning walks, but not sure for how long or how far. They've said masks are now mandatory if you step outside, but as far as I know, it's not confirmed yet. We are a little confused at the moment.

Sam: We had a moment of panic since we just moved into a new house and didn’t have anything here - no food but also no condiments and barely any utensils. We just bought everything we’ll need for the next month all together (not hoarding, just what we’ll be using) - it wasn’t necessary really since stores will stay open. But we’re thinking about staying in as much as possible for this time. We’ll have enough to do since we have to set up the whole house, install furniture, put up the curtains and all. We’ll stay busy. And safe.

For more information, read our article on Mental health tips for people living away from family during a lockdown.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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