SINGAPORE: A 28-day "circuit breaker" may not be enough if Singaporeans continue to flout measures put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli on Thursday (Apr 16).
He warned against complacency as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, saying that 150 people will be issued fines for breaching safe distancing measures on Thursday - day 10 of the circuit breaker period. Another 50 people were caught in public spaces without face masks.
"We are still finding people eating at hawker centres despite dine-in being disallowed, crowds returning to some popular markets, and others loitering and hanging out in groups at parks and public spaces," said Mr Masagos in a Facebook post.
"We all know that if we do not play our part to observe the circuit breaker strictly, the 28 days may not be enough to break the chain of transmission, don't we?"
Mr Masagos said he was "glad to know the majority" of people have been wearing masks when outside their homes, and "only close to 50 people" were found without masks in public spaces on Thursday.
"Looking around, at photographs that enforcement officers have been sending me, I'm quite pleased, and of course, we can do better," the minister said on an interview on News 5.
On Tuesday, it was made mandatory for everyone in Singapore to wear masks while outdoors with certain exemptions.
Mr Masagos said that besides people who are doing strenuous exercise like running, or children below two years old, everyone should wear a mask when they leave their house, but exceptions can be made for people with special needs.
"It's important to remind ourselves that the safe distancing measures are to protect ourselves and those around us," he said in the TV interview.
He added that the most important thing to remember is to stay home as much as possible.
The minister acknowledged that the battle against COVID-19 has been "difficult for everyone" and that "tough but essential decisions" have had to be made.
"But we must do whatever it takes to keep Singaporeans and Singapore safe," said Mr Masagos. "Every lapse weakens our collective defence against the virus."
"When things look like they're getting better ... we must not let our guard down. Our resolve to complete the circuit breaker with seriousness, to the end, is critical."
He also paid tribute to safe distancing ambassadors and public officers, whom he commended for working hard on the front lines and behind the scenes.
"Despite the many challenges, I am proud that they have remained dedicated and steadfast," said Mr Masagos.