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"Henceforth we will not only test to identify infections when a new case pops up. We will also routinely and regularly test people who appear well in normal work, or social or community settings, to make them, and these places, safe," said Mr Lee in a virtual address to the nation today. Photo by Daniel Tseng on Unsplash.

In planning for a new normal of living with Covid-19, Singapore will introduce routine, large-scale, fast and simple testing that will give Singaporeans the confidence to resume larger scale events or gatherings, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a speech broadcast live to the nation today (May 31).

Religious services, and other gatherings such as wedding receptions, concerts and sports events are likely to involve pre-event testing. 

This will give participants assurance of a Covid-safe environment, even with the virus in circulation, said the Prime Minister. 

In today’s virtual address to the nation, two weeks after the announcement of tightened Phase 2 Heightened Alert measures, Mr Lee noted that nearly four in 10 residents have had at least one jab.

But there is a need to vaccinate more people, and faster, as part of Singapore’s fight against the coronavirus, he said.

This will give participants assurance of a Covid-safe environment, even with the virus in circulation, said the Prime Minister. 

“Henceforth we will not only test to identify infections when a new case pops up. We will also routinely and regularly test people who appear well in normal work, or social or community settings, to make them, and these places, safe,” said Mr Lee.

“This approach will quickly provide the maximum number of people with good protection, instead of a good number of people with maximum protection.

“We want to protect as many Singaporeans as possible, as soon as we can, especially with the new Covid-19 variants,” he added.

New tests coming onstream include DIY test kits that will be made available over the counter at pharmacies, to be administered by individuals and frontliners who are worried they might have Covid-19 and want to put their minds at ease, said Mr Lee. 

“These alternatives to PCR tests help us detect and isolate persons quickly when they are most infectious. This will be a big help in slowing down the spread of Covid-19,” he added.

The Prime Minister noted that the number of daily cases has decreased since the Heightened Alert measures. 

“Barring another superspreader or big cluster, we should be on track to bring this outbreak under control,” said Mr Lee, who urged Singaporeans to keep up their efforts and stay vigilant.

This means working from home if possible and going out only when necessary. “Most importantly, if you feel unwell, see a doctor immediately – even if you have been vaccinated,” he added.


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