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National Day Parade 2021 to go ahead with physical event and spectators at The Float @ Marina Bay

National Day Parade 2021 to go ahead with physical event and spectators at The Float @ Marina Bay

The state flag is flown past the National Day Parade 2019 parade ground as troops stand ready for inspection. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) on Aug 9 will go ahead with a centralised physical event and spectators at The Float @ Marina Bay, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Monday (Jun 28). 

The number of participants and spectators will be “scaled down appropriately”, Dr Ng said, adding that the final figure will be decided later.

Spectators above 12 years old who are eligible for the national vaccination programme must be fully vaccinated before attending the event. They will also have to undergo pre-event COVID-19 testing.

All participants have also been vaccinated against the coronavirus and are routinely tested before each rehearsal in separate groups. There will only be one preview show before the main event.

READ: SAF has achieved ‘herd immunity’ through COVID-19 vaccinations; IPPT, in-camp training resume: Ng Eng Hen

“There will be the usual combined parade and show, there will also be heartland activities, which the NDP Committee will share,” Dr Ng told reporters ahead of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day on Thursday.

“Let me just say that we are going ahead with a physical performance, a physical NDP, not like last year. It will be centralised.”

Last year’s NDP was split into a morning show at the Padang and an evening show at the Star Vista, with numbers of those involved reduced drastically in line with COVID-19 measures.

The morning show featured a scaled-down parade with about 150 spectators, while the evening show also had a 150-strong audience. Fewer than 300 participants were involved in both segments.

READ: NDP 2020: At downsized Padang parade, frontline and essential workers get salute

READ: In pictures: Singapore celebrates National Day, with a nod to COVID-19 frontliners

The NDP in pre-pandemic years usually attracts tens of thousands of spectators.

Dr Ng revealed some of the thinking behind holding a physical event this year, calling Aug 9 an “appropriate occasion” to shift to a new normal of living with an endemic COVID-19.

“By Aug 9, with Singaporeans’ cooperation, we hope that at least two-thirds of the population would have gotten their second dose,” he said, highlighting that vaccinated participants and spectators “reduces a lot of risk”.

“With proper safety measures, it will be safe enough for us to conduct a physical NDP on the floating platform, and I hope that Singaporeans will give us the support.”

READ: NDP 2020: Healthcare workers saluted as National Day Parade comes to the heartlands

When asked about show elements like fireworks and the potential for crowding, Dr Ng said “we need Singaporeans to play their part”.

“It is better to watch from the comfort and safety of their homes. Do not crowd and I think there will be administrators and safe distancing ambassadors on the ground to help enforce,” he added.

“But the new normal also means that Singaporeans must take their own measures to protect themselves and especially if you are not vaccinated.”

Dr Ng advised those who are not vaccinated to watch the heartland activities at home and to avoid the crowds as “it is just not as safe”.

“If you are vaccinated, it does not mean you do not take any safety measures, but the risk to you is less,” he added.

Dr Ng also asked Singaporeans for their understanding if this year’s show turns out to be "not as well prepared" as in previous years, given the shorter preparation time due to changing scenarios amid COVID-19.

“We hope that the NDP will give us a wider perspective because it has been a tough year, a year and a half, and I think with Singaporeans’ support and help, I think we can achieve,” he added.

Source: CNA/hz(ta)

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