Singapore encourages remote work even as some curbs near end

People waiting to enter a supermarket and having their identity documents checked by staff before they can enter the premises, as a protective measure against the spread of the Covid-19 in Singapore on Sunday (May 2). - AFP

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Government on Sunday (May 3) said companies with employees who can work from home will probably have to continue doing so even after the country’s partial lockdown ends on June 1.

Others in sectors such as manufacturing, which require workers to be onsite, should start making preparations for the gradual re-opening of the economy in coming weeks, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing told reporters on Sunday.

They should put in place sustainable measures to prevent a flare-up of the coronavirus outbreak, he said.

Authorities on Saturday said some workplaces and services will resume operations from May 12, while certain groups of students will be allowed to return to school the following week. About 85% of Singapore’s workforce is now working at home after the city-state implemented "circuit-breaker” measures including the closure of schools and most workplaces in early April.

Apart from biopharmaceutical and petrochemical industries which have remained open, the city-state is prioritizing businesses that are important in the global supply chain to resume operations from May 12, Chan said.

Food manufacturers, home-based food businesses, some retail outlets for deliveries and takeaways, and laundry and hairdressing services are allowed to restart operations next week, the Ministry of Health said Saturday. Companies that resume work must ensure employees maintain safe distances from each other.

Students sitting for national exams and those at some higher-education campuses will be allowed to return to school in small batches from May 19, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said Saturday. The same day, the country reported the lowest increase in virus infections in more than two weeks.

The fight against infections remains challenging and the government is still studying what measures will be adjusted in June, Wong said.

"Even in the month of May, the steps we are taking may well have to be adjusted further depending on how the situation unfolds,” he said.

Restrictions on the movement of foreign workers at dormitories will be extended to June 1 as the country continues to battle a spike in coronavirus cases, the Ministry of Health said. The vast majority of the new cases announced on Saturday were work-permit holders living in foreign-worker dormitories. - Bloomberg
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Singapore , Cautious Approach , Covid-19


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