Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday said “the tide is still coming in” as the city-state reported 49 new confirmed coronavirus cases, taking the number of COVID-19 patients in the country to 732.
Lee said the tide has not turned here. “The tide is still coming in and we have to keep a very vigilant eye as the virus is still getting into Singapore,” he said.
“We have been fighting and the tide is still coming in. What has changed is that we have put up our dyke, we have held the water out, but the dyke leaks,” the prime minister told reporters after Singapore announced a Resilience Budget of SGD 48.4 billion to manage the pandemic-hit economy.
“There are bits coming in, people coming home and the virus is still getting into Singapore,” he said.
The new cases bring the total number of COVID-19 patients in Singapore to 732.
Seventeen of the 432 confirmed cases still in hospital are in critical conditions and in the intensive care unit.
“We have to keep a very vigilant eye on it continuously and make sure that every drop that comes in we mop it up quickly before a drop becomes a rivulet, a rivulet becomes a stream, then I have a flood and we are sunk,” PM Lee said.
He noted that countries near and far are in lockdown or worsening situations, and that “in Singapore, we are sitting watching our dyke”.
(We are) trying to keep ourselves safe and preventing any of this from coming in, and I have a situation which going out of control,” he said. “So, I am in this for a very long time to come.
To sustain current efforts, Lee called for people”s cooperation in aspects such as safe distancing, contact tracing and discipline in that when they return from overseas, they should stay home.
“That way we slow the spread of the virus. If you have a spot pop up, we have a good chance to mop it up before it gets out of control and … We have a public health disaster,” he said.
Twenty-two of the 49 new cases are imported as the patients have a recent travel history to Europe, North America and ASEAN.
Among the new cases is a one-year-old girl and a six-year-old child from a kindergarten.
Meanwhile, a top-level annual regional security forum hosted by Singapore, Shangri-La Dialogue, will not be held as scheduled June 5-7, due to the coronavirus outbreak, The Straits Times reported on Friday citing sources.