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16 Dec 2020

14th Dec 2020

Good evening, let me conclude this segment by reiterating some of the key measures that we will introduce at the start of Phase 3 on 28 December.

First, we will allow for up to 8 persons for social gatherings, which is an increase from 5 persons today. Second, we will increase the capacity limits of key premises like shopping malls and attractions as Minister Chan had said just now. Third, we will have larger gatherings in religious organisations of up to 250 persons, or 5 zones of 50, which is an increase of the present 2 zones of 50. We will also allow live performance elements in these places of worship, with the necessary safe management measures in place. Fourth, for live performances for arts and culture, at both indoor and outdoor venues, we will also allow for gatherings of up to 250 persons, an increase from the present 2 zones of 50 threshold.

These are the moves that we will make at the start of Phase 3. Within Phase 3 itself, we will be prepared to allow for further relaxation of the measures, be it for domestic activities within Singapore or with regard to our control measures at the borders. The approach we will take is to conduct pilots in some of these higher risk activities and settings in order to better understand the risks before we decide to make a further move.

At the same time, we will continue to build up our capabilities. For example, with regard to testing, we will roll out and have more pervasive use of Antigen Rapid Tests, particularly for larger scale events. With regard to contact tracing, we will be able to achieve a participation rate of around 70% in our TraceTogether programme by the end of this year – which is one of the reasons why we are embarking on Phase 3. But we will not stop there, we want to achieve an even higher participation rate, be it through the downloading of the TraceTogether app or the distribution of tokens which will continue throughout all our Community Centres. So when that process has been completed, and everyone has had the chance to either get the app or the token, we will introduce TraceTogether-only Safe Entry, where Safe Entry will be allowed only through the use of TraceTogether.

This has been an exceptional year for all of us, it has been a difficult year. Many unsung heroes have worked very hard round the clock and made tremendous sacrifices in order for us to get here. So, on behalf of the Multi-Ministry taskforce, we want to thank everyone for their tremendous contributions to these efforts. We are now at a significant milestone and at a new phase of fighting the virus. But all our hard-won gains against COVID-19 will evaporate if we start to relax now. So, it is critical for us to keep our guard up, particularly during this final stretch.

Also, we know that this is the festive period, the relaxation in Phase 3, particularly the increase in social gatherings from 5 to 8 will allow us to gather in slightly larger numbers, but let us do so responsibly and keep up the good practices that we have cultivated over the past few months.

Earlier this year, I said that this fight against COVID-19 was going to be a marathon and not a sprint. Now, we are at the final stretch of the marathon, but remember, this final stretch is still going to be a long one and it is probably going to be the most difficult one of the race. If you want to use a mountain climbing analogy as Dr Tan See Leng had suggested, typically you get to base camp, but the final ascent to the summit is the one that is fraught with greatest risks. So, we really need to stay disciplined and focused all the way through the end. Let us work together to win this fight against COVID-19 and make 2021 a better, healthier, and safer year for all of us. Thank you.




Category: Speeches