In his Chinese New Year Message 2021, PM Lee Hsien Loong called on Singaporeans to continue remaining vigilant amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, despite a more subdued Chinese New Year period.
Chinese New Year is a time for reunions and celebration. Tonight, across Singapore, families will enjoy dinners with their loved ones. Over the next few days, we will visit parents and relatives in smaller groups to exchange New Year wishes for good health and prosperity, and to welcome new arrivals to the family. This year, with COVID-19, it is perhaps more important than ever to show our appreciation to our family members. The warmth, comfort and support of our families have given all of us strength to get through the most trying times of COVID-19.
Keeping our families safe from COVID-19 has been on all of our minds. Protecting our people, especially our seniors, has been the government’s top priority in this pandemic. We have gone all out to control the spread of the virus, treat the infected, and prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, even at great economic cost. Because of this tremendous effort, our COVID-19 situation has now stabilised. We have avoided the disastrous outbreaks and the enormous pain and suffering experienced by many other countries. We have restarted most of our economy, and are cautiously resuming cross-border travel. As we welcome the Year of the Ox, we can look back and give thanks that we have come through the Year of the Rat, not without trouble, but relatively unscathed.
I thank everyone for your continued support for the tough restrictions the government has had to implement. COVID-19 has forced us to scale down 2 and adapt our family gatherings and New Year visits. We can still gather, provided we receive no more than eight visitors per day to our homes. Our own visits should be to at most two other households daily, and only to relatives. These stricter measures are necessary as the virus is still spreading rapidly around the world. This January, we saw the new waves of infection caused by year-end celebrations in many countries, where many people gathered and let their guard down. This is something we should learn from and avoid.
I know these restrictions will dampen the festive atmosphere somewhat. Bigger extended families will be especially inconvenienced. But the precautions are essential to keep our loved ones safe. I am sure you will find other ways to hold your reunions and connect with family members and friends, perhaps through video calls or teleconferencing.
We can look forward to more carefree celebrations when the pandemic is over. The Year of the Ox brings new hope. Vaccines are now available. Countries with serious outbreaks, which have started mass vaccinations, have begun to bring down their new cases. In Singapore, 250,000 people have received their first dose of the vaccine. We have vaccinated most frontline and essential workers, and are now vaccinating our seniors, starting with those over 70. Provided vaccine supplies come in as scheduled, we should be able to offer vaccinations to our whole population within this year.
I strongly encourage everyone to take the vaccine when it is your turn. Vaccination protects ourselves, and our loved ones. Furthermore, if enough of us are vaccinated, our population will have herd immunity. But we are not there yet, so in the meantime please keep up our safe distancing precautions, even if you yourself have been vaccinated.
As we celebrate Chinese New Year, let us also show our appreciation for the essential workers who are making personal sacrifices to keep Singapore going during this festive period: our healthcare workers, transport staff, cleaners, migrant workers, delivery riders and many more. Many of our Malay, Indian and Eurasian friends will be working, covering for their Chinese colleagues. They deserve our heart-felt thanks.
I wish all Singaporeans good health, and a very happy Chinese New Year.
农历新年是人们合家团圆、除旧迎新的传统节日。今晚，许多家庭 都会和亲人一起吃团圆饭。接下来的几天，我们仍然会向长辈和亲友拜年， 为彼此送上新年祝福，也会和家人聚会并欢迎新的成员。不同的是，因为 疫情的关系，今年我们必须减少拜访的人数和次数。尽管如此，我们更应 该在这段时间好好感谢家人，谢谢他们陪我们度过最艰难的时刻，为我们 加油打气，给予我们安慰和力量。
保护家人免受冠病感染是大家最关心的事。疫情暴发后，保护所有 国人，尤其是年长者的健康，一直是政府的首要任务。政府不惜巨大的经 济代价，竭尽所能，遏制病毒的传播和治疗病患，避免我国的医疗体系不 胜负荷。在付出巨大努力后，我国的疫情现在已稳定下来，而没有像其他 国家那样，因疫情失控而蒙受许多苦难和损失。我国已经重新启动大部分 的经济活动，也正在谨慎地恢复跨国旅行。在金牛年来临之际，我们回顾 过去的一年，尽管面对了严峻的挑战，但我们的处境还是相对良好，这值 得我们心存感激。
我感谢大家在这段期间积极配合政府所采取的严格防疫措施。由于 疫情的关系，我们必须缩小家庭聚会的规模，并通过其他方式聚会和拜年。 大家虽然还是能够见面，但每户人家一天最多只能招待八名访客。同时， 大家每天应最多只到访两户人家，并尽量只探访亲戚。由于冠病疫情还在 全球蔓延，这些严厉措施是必要的。今年一月，我们就看到许多国家出现 2 新一波疫情，原因是参与大规模跨年庆祝活动的人群疏于防范，没有遵守 防疫措施。我们应该引以为戒，慎防类似的情况在我国发生。
我明白这些限制会影响佳节气氛，也会给成员较多的大家庭造成不 便，但为了保护我们的家人和至亲，我们必须采取这些防疫措施。我相信 疫情不会冲淡我们彼此之间的情谊，大家会通过视频通话或视讯等其他方 式拜年团聚，与亲友保持联系。
有朝一日，疫情会结束，我们就能更热烈地庆祝传统节日。来临的 金牛年也为我们带来新希望：冠病疫苗已经问世，一些疫情严重的国家展 开疫苗接种计划后，新增病例数已经开始下降。至今，新加坡已有逾二十 五万人接种首剂疫苗。许多前线人员及从事必要服务的人员已经这么做， 而我们正在为 70 岁以上的年长者接种疫苗。只要疫苗供应如期运抵我国， 我们应该就能在今年内为所有居民提供疫苗。
我在此呼吁大家，在轮到您的时候，请接种冠病疫苗，以保护自己 和亲人。若有足够的人接种疫苗，我国人口就能有群体免疫力。但是，在 我们达到这个目标之前，即使您已经接种疫苗，也还是应该继续同他人保 持安全距离，并遵守防疫措施。
在庆祝农历新年的同时，我们也要感谢许多工友，在这段时间牺牲 和亲友团聚的时间，确保必要服务正常运作。这包括我们的医疗人员、交 通工友、清洁工人、客工、送货员和送餐员等。我们的马来族、印度族和 欧亚裔同胞当中，也有许多人将在这期间继续工作，为华族同事代班，我 们衷心感谢他们的帮忙。
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