In Singapore (the Asia Pacific region), one of the most densely populated countries, sitting or standing close to one another less than 1 meter (3.2 feet) physical distance, is a crime. The Singapore government has taken drastic measures in order to curb the spreading of COVID-19.
Singapore is also known as “fine city”, a title imbuing two meanings: one is that it’s fine to live and second refers to its harsh fine system for maintaining order in the country. Those who breach COVID-19 safe distancing rules will be guilty of an offense and they will be charged stiff fines of about $7000 or will be jailed for a period of six months. Both punishments can also be given.
Health ministry has announced new rules of physical distancing according to which people are required to avoid sitting on fixed seats. Seats have been marked with red stripes so that no one should occupy them. These restrictions apply to individuals and businesses.
Singapore has not imposed full shutdown with schools, offices, and shops staying open. Malls and restaurants are directed to reduce crowds. The Singaporean government has ordered the closure of bars, night clubs, cinemas, and entertainment outlets till 30th April. Large events are banned and Religious services are suspended.
“The coronavirus outbreak and its economic aftermath will last at least a year,” says the Singapore Minister. On Thursday Singapore reserved another 48 billion Singapore dollars ($33.64 billion) for supporting business and households after official initial estimates revealed the Southeast Asian economy declining by more than hoped in the first quarter of this year. Singapore is the 2nd smallest country in Asia, with a population of 5.6 million, including in Asia Pacific (APAC).
The Asia Pacific is a collection of countries positioned in or near the Western Pacific Ocean and now the high flying region of economic advancement in the world. According to the latest S&P Global Rating update, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Asia pacific regions could face a total income loss of $120 billion.US and Singapore worked as closed partners in support of the rules-based economy and security order in the Asia pacific. On 26 March, US secretary of state, Michael R.Pompeo spoke to Singapore Foreign Minister, Varian Balakrishnan and highlighted the importance of close US-Singapore coordination in addressing the COVID-19 crisis.
Singapore (Asia Pacific) First Case
In Singapore, the first case of COVID-19 was observed on 23rd January but by taking aggressive testing, contact tracing, and strict quarantine measures, officials were able to stave off a major outbreak from spreading.
On Thursday, 52 cases of the virus were reported, out of which, 28 were imported cases having a travel history of Europe, North America, Middle East and other parts of Asia Country. The number of people rose to 683 on Friday. More than 500,000 people are suffering through infection by COVID-19 in over 175 countries and territories.
“Those who breach stay-home notices issued to control the COVID-19 pandemic will be charged in court”, said the Law and Home Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam. Notices are also issued to all travelers entering Singapore since March 22 and these people are directed to remain at home for 14 days as precautionary measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
In light of the recent rise in the number of cases of the virus, other governments in the region are also taking strict measures against COVID-19. The Hong Kong government has put a ban on serving alcohol in bars and restaurants this week. The Chinese government has also banned the arrival of foreigners from 28 March.
The latest official figures show that 420 active cases have been confirmed in Singapore, 198 patients have been discharged, 182 are discharged to isolation. In hospitals, 401 patients are in stable condition whereas 19 cases are critical. Singapore confirms 2 deaths due to coronavirus till now.
By: Nimra Mina