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COVID-19: Shutting ourselves off from world not an option, says Singapore minister

Meanwhile, Singapore reported seven imported COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with no local case for the 15 consecutive days. All imported cases, or people arriving here from other countries on specially arranged flights, were placed on stay-home notice, said the MOH.

PTI | Singapore | Updated: 25-11-2020 17:29 IST | Created: 25-11-2020 16:27 IST
COVID-19: Shutting ourselves off from world not an option, says Singapore minister
Representative Picture. Image Credit: Pxhere

Shutting Singapore off from the world is not an option, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Wednesday, asserting that learning how to manage risks will thus be a far more productive approach. Chan, in a speech at the TravelRevive trade show, said it is not realistic to expect to eliminate all the risks of reopening.

"Shutting ourselves off from the world is not an option. Singapore is unable to tap on a large local population or domestic travel to sustain our tourism sector," the minister said. "Learning how to manage risks will thus be a far more productive approach, and place us in good stead as we never know what will be the next crisis that might hit us, or what will be the next virus that might disrupt air travel," the Channel News Asia quoted the minister as saying.

COVID-19 has been "especially hard-hitting" for countries without a large domestic market like Singapore. But the outbreak has also given countries like Singapore the impetus to reinvent themselves, said Chan. "We are not waiting for the vaccine to arrive. Nor are we waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to blow over. Instead, we are establishing the foundations now and getting started on the journey to reinvent and rebuild the industry," he said.

Global travel "will never be the same again" even after COVID-19, but changes to the way people travel and how events are conducted were "already on the horizon" before the pandemic, he said. With digitalisation, many businesses were re-evaluating the need to travel for routine operations. The move towards sustainability also saw many travellers consider if there were more environment friendly ways to fulfil their desire for new experiences, said the minister.

The COVID-19 outbreak accelerated the move towards digitalisation and sustainability, and added the need for health security, "over and above physical security and comfort", he said. "Therein lies the opportunity for us all. Whoever can ensure visitors' health security in a faster and better way will gain a competitive advantage. If any country in the world has the incentive and the drive to get the formula for reinvention right, Singapore must be one of the front-runners," he said.

Meanwhile, Singapore's last COVID-19 cluster in a migrant worker dormitory has closed, meaning there are no active clusters for the first time since the pandemic began with a case in January. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the closure of the COVID-19 cluster at Cassia @ Penjuru dormitory, after 28 consecutive days with no new infection linked to it.

"With the closure of this cluster, there are no active COVID-19 clusters for the first time since February 3, 2020," the ministry said. Singapore's first cluster was reported on February 4.

Three days later, Singapore's Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level was raised from Yellow to Orange, where it remains, as more local cases emerged without links to previous cases or travel history to China. Meanwhile, Singapore reported seven imported COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with no local case for the 15 consecutive days.

All imported cases, or people arriving here from other countries on specially arranged flights, were placed on stay-home notice, said the MOH. As of Wednesday, Singapore has recorded 58,190 cases of COVID-19.

Thirteen foreign domestic workers, out of the 18 imported cases reported on Tuesday, arrived from India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. The other five were from the Netherlands, Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan. They have been paced under stay-home notices. Thirty-seven confirmed cases are still in hospital with one in critical condition in the intensive care unit while 39 are recuperating from mild symptoms in isolated community facilities, said the MOH.

With eight cases of COVID-19 discharged from hospitals and community facilities, 58,079 have fully recovered from the infection, the ministry added.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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