Border re-opening: Singapore say it is likely to start small and selectively

SINGAPORE: Singapore is likely to start small and selectively in the reopening of its border, said the republic’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Gan said a mix of isolation and test requirements will continue to be imposed, to protect the republic from new imported Covid-19 (coronavirus) cases leading to community spread.

The minister said this in his Ministerial Statement at Parliament, on the second update on whole-of-government response to Covid-19 on Monday (May 4)

Gan noted that a variety of factors or indicators will be looked at in considering the re-opening of borders which is part of the tighter circuit breaker measures.

"We need to make an assessment of the situation globally and individual countries, on the extent and approach on reopening our borders.

"We would review the rate of transmissions in other countries, as well as what they have done to contain the spread,” he explained.

Singapore reported its first imported case on Jan 23 and with Sunday’s tally of 18,205, Singapore identified 579 or only 3.18% as imported cases.

Gan stressed that numbers are important but they are not the only thing to be considered before lifting the circuit breaker measures.

"We need to be assured that community transmission locally is stemmed, or very low. Community cases should ideally fall to zero or single-digits daily, with very low numbers of unlinked cases, and not just for one day, but sustained over a period of time.

"While we have been able to keep local community cases low despite high number of cases among migrant workers, it is equally important to reduce the migrant worker cases over time, though it will take a while longer,” he said.

Otherwise, Singapore will continue to be at risk of a spillover from the dormitories into the wider population, he added.

Updating on the infection rate among healthcare workers, Gan said based on the investigations thus far, there are no established epidemiological links of them being infected in the line of duty for caring for their patients.

As of April 26, Gan said there were 66 cases of confirmed COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers with 46 cases whose work involve direct contact with patients.

A few Malaysians were part of the 66 infected cases among healthcare workers here.

Citing the recent National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) study, Gan said it did not detect any past infection among a sample of healthcare workers.

"Nevertheless, we cannot be complacent,” said the minister. - Bernama

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