Singapore will close schools and most workplaces for a month, as it moves to curb the increase of COVID-19 transmissions in the country.
Most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, will be closed from next Tuesday, and schools will be closed from Wednesday. Essential services such as food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and banking services will remain open.
Looking at the trend, I am worried that unless we take further steps, things will gradually get worse, or another big cluster may push things over the edge, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Lee urged residents to stay home and only leave to buy essential items.
The country has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, and has routinely reported more than 50 new cases daily. As of Thursday, Singapore had 1,049 cases and five deaths.
Singapore has also reversed its recommendations that people should wear masks only if they are feeling unwell.
We will no longer discourage people from masks. Wearing a mask may help to protect others in case you have the virus but don't know it, said Lee.
The Singapore government will distribute reusable masks to all households from this Sunday for some added protection , Lee said.