Singapore in ‘stable position’ in COVID-19 fight but must remain vigilant: DPM Heng

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Singapore is in a “stable position” in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but it must remain vigilant amid profound uncertainties, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament yesterday.

These uncertainties include how effective other countries will be in containing the pandemic and re-opening their economies, as well as when an effective and safe vaccine can be developed.

But the country will adapt to living with the coronavirus even with these unknowns, said Mr Heng in a ministerial statement that sought to provide an update on Singapore’s response against the pandemic and its strategies to emerge stronger from the crisis.

The government has worked out the steps on how to further reopen the economy safely, with details of a Phase 3 roadmap to be released by the multi-ministry task force “in the coming weeks”, said Heng.

This will include the expected timeline for moving to Phase 3, changes to current regulations on the size of group gatherings and at mass events, he said.

To further re-open the economy safely, the Government will focus on four key prongs – vaccination, testing, tracing and safe management.

Singapore is working “very actively” to secure early access to safe and effective vaccines, if and when they become available, said Heng.

This includes being an early supporter of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, a global initiative to accelerate the development and production of potential vaccines while ensuring equitable access.

Singapore is also looking at procuring vaccines from a number of pharmaceutical companies, while supporting local efforts in developing a vaccine and the building up of manufacturing capacity.