SINGAPORE: The social and psychological resilience of Singaporeans has been the key difference in the fight against COVID-19, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a televised address on Thursday (Mar 12).
"Singapore’s response has received international accolades. Underlying this is the social and psychological resilience of our people," he said as he gave an update on the COVID-19 situation.
"What makes Singapore different from other countries is that we have confidence in each other, we feel that we are all in this together, and we do not leave anyone behind. This is SG United, we are SG United."
Mr Lee said that the coronavirus outbreak is likely to continue for some time, but assured Singaporeans he is confident that the nation will be able to deal with the medical and economic consequences.
"But what is also critical is the psychological aspect of this fight," he said, adding that the country's frontline staff are working "extremely hard" to keep Singapore going.
Singaporeans too have co-operated when the Government appealed to them to only wear face masks when unwell or not to worry about supermarkets running out of food or household items, he noted.
"People accepted our reassurances and behaviour changed," he said. "I am grateful that most Singaporeans are responding calmly and responsibly. Thank you for your trust and support."
ECONOMY TAKING A "BIG HIT"
The Government is working on a second package of measures to cushion the impact of the outbreak on the economy, which is taking a "big hit", he said.
This comes after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled a S$4 billion Support and Stabilisation Package in the Budget last month to help businesses, workers and households tide over the immediate period.
The Government will keep companies "afloat through the storm" by helping them with their costs and cashflow, Mr Lee said.
"We will help our workers keep their jobs and retrain during their downtime, so that when things return to normal, our workers will be the first out of the gate and immediately productive."
Those who are retrenched or unemployed will also get an "extra helping hand" to see them through the difficult times, he added.
"We will remain in this high risk state for some time to come. But if we keep up our guard, and take practical precautions to protect ourselves and our families, we will be able to keep our economy going and carry on with our daily lives," Mr Lee said in an appeal to Singaporeans.
"In such a crisis, everyone has a part to play. I hope you will work with me and colleagues to keep our families safe, keep Singapore secure and move forward together."