S’pore Will Monitor Covid-19 Situation Before Deciding On A Second ‘Circuit Breaker’, Says Ong Ye Kung

More Monitoring Needed Before Singapore Decides On A Second ‘Circuit Breaker’

In Apr 2020, Singapore plunged into an unprecedented lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. A year on, the memories of ‘Circuit Breaker’ (CB) run deep.

Given the recent spike in community cases, we’ve entered a Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) since Sunday (16 May). The stricter measures are giving many major CB flashbacks.

In response to whether there’d be a second CB to follow, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that more monitoring is needed before arriving at such a decision.

You can watch the press conference here.

Case trajectory can go up or flatten

At yesterday’s (16 May) Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) press conference, Minister Ong was asked for his response to calls for Singapore to return to a “full ‘Circuit Breaker’ mode.”

First, he admits this to be a “particularly difficult time” to answer the question, as uncertainties abound.


Even though community cases have been going up, they may keep rising or plateau in the coming days.

He cites the period during Chinese New Year (CNY) this year when community cases gradually disappeared following an increase.

As such, the authorities will monitor the situation at hand before coming to a decision on further measures.

Effects of recent stricter measures to kick in

Denying that he was trying to “stall the question”, Minister Ong highlights some key considerations before imposing a lockdown.

16 May marks the 1st day of stricter social distancing measures, which include a ban on dine-ins at F&B outlets.

The rationale behind this is to “remove the most high-risk settings”, says Minister Ong, where people can go maskless in an enclosed, crowded space.

Kallang Bahru Hawker Centre on Sunday (16 May)

Moreover, the inability to dine in reduces people’s activities as a whole, as many will lack the motivation to go out.

Paired with Home-Based Learning (HBL) from 19 May, these measures are likely to make an impact on our control of the virus.

Able to detect cases faster now

According to Minister Ong, the current method of testing is able to detect cases much faster.

The combination of Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests enable more efficient identification of possible infections.

Therefore, the authorities are also monitoring whether cases can be flushed out more quickly in the coming days.

Still studying effects of vaccination on re-infections

Crucially, the Ministry of Health is studying the severity of Covid-19 symptoms in vaccinated individuals or those infected by them.

So far in this round of outbreak, none of the 76 re-infections – vaccinated at least with 1st dose – requires ICU, says Minister Ong.


However, more deep-diving into these cases is needed in the upcoming days to decide on the next course of actions.

Second Circuit Breaker will take place if necessary

As such, these are important considerations in place before the time comes to decide on further measures.

If more stringent measures are indeed necessary, the authorities will carry on with them. As Minister Ong points out,

If it’s a ‘CB’, we will say it is a ‘CB’.

Meanwhile, as we wait for the results of the tightened measures to kick in, do stay home as much as possible, and practise safe distancing.

Hopefully, by 13 Jun, we can bring the virus under control again.

Meanwhile, here’s a comparison between ‘Circuit Breaker’ and Phase 2 Heightened Alert measures:

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