Singapore to close schools and most workplaces amid rising virus cases

Despite social distancing efforts, Singapore’s virus infections have been rising sharply in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Eric Hui)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will close schools and most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, for a month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday, as part of stricter measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Singapore’s infections, both imported and domestic, have been rising sharply in recent weeks and topped 1,000 this week. It reported its fifth death on Friday.

“We have decided that instead of tightening incrementally over the next few weeks, we should make a decisive move now, to pre-empt escalating infections,” Lee said in a speech.

Food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services will remain open. The city-state will also move to full home-based learning in its schools and universities.

Lee urged everyone to stay home as much as possible and to avoid socialising with others beyond their own household.

He said the country had enough food supplies to last through this period and beyond.

The city-state will also announce additional support for households and businesses on Monday, he added.

The republic has adopted some social distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus, but had let schools, offices and restaurants remain open.

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