PM Lee Hsien Loong's remarks in English, Chinese and Malay on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Singapore, delivered on 10 April 2020.
My fellow Singaporeans
I spoke to you on TV last week to explain why we needed to implement a circuit breaker. We anticipated a rise in our local COVID-19 cases, especially more unlinked cases that we are unable to trace. We also worried about more cases and clusters emerging in foreign worker dormitories. Unfortunately, in the week since then, these have happened.
We have seen outbreaks in several foreign worker dormitories. Many dorms have cases, and some dorms have many cases. We have responded comprehensively to contain the spread in the dorms, and to protect the foreign workers.
Yesterday, Ministers Lawrence Wong and Gan Kim Yong explained what we are doing. They have set up an interagency task force to handle the situation in the dorms. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Manpower, the SAF, the Home Team, all are involved. The commander of the task force is the Chief Guards Officer from the Army, and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean is advising the ministers on this issue.
The task force has deployed Forward Assurance Support Teams in all the dorms. These teams work closely with the dorm operators and can respond quickly to the workers’ essential needs. They are setting up medical facilities and triage clinics, bringing in supplies and food, and managing the logistics and housekeeping. They are making sure the workers have food and water, and WiFi to keep in touch with families back home and friends here, and for entertainment. The SAF and the Home Team have the resources and the organisation to do this. Many other public service agencies are also chipping in.
We are paying close attention to the welfare of the foreign workers. They came to Singapore to work hard for a living, and provide for their families back home. They have played an important part building our HDB flats, Changi Airport, MRT lines. We have worked with their employers to make sure they will be paid their salaries, and can remit money home. We will provide them with the medical care and treatment that they need.
If any of their family members watch my video, let me say this to them: We appreciate the work and contributions of your sons, fathers, husbands in Singapore. We feel responsible for their well-being. We will do our best to take care of their health, livelihood and welfare here, and to let them go home, safe and sound, to you. On behalf of all Singaporeans, I wish you well.
Outside the dorms, the number of cases in the general community has also gone up. Many of these cases are unlinked. We do not know how they got infected, or from whom. So the persons who infected them are probably still out there, and still infecting more people. As I explained last week, we expected this to happen, and to see the numbers go up even after the circuit breaker took effect. The reason is most of these cases were probably infected earlier, before the circuit breaker started.
And this is precisely why we need the circuit breaker. If we all reduce our contact with one another, we also reduce our chances of catching or transmitting the virus. This will slow down new infections, both linked and unlinked, and after a while the number of new cases will fall.
This has been the experience of countries like China, South Korea, and New Zealand. They all adopted similar tough measures after a surge in infections. But it will take some time. I spoke to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand yesterday on the phone. New Zealand has implemented a stringent lock down. She told me that when they did this, it was only on Day 11 that they started to see new cases coming down. So we have to be patient, but we also have to be resolute.
This is why I need each of you to take the circuit breaker very seriously. Stay at home; stop socialising in person with others, even with extended family members who do not live with you. Keep in touch with them but by other means, for example online, on the phone, writing emails or even letters. But do not make physical contact, because that is how the virus is spread. Please comply not just with the letter of the rules, but their spirit.
Some of you have elderly parents who live alone and need your help to go about their daily lives. We understand your concerns. There is some flexibility in the law to accommodate your situation, but if it is at all possible, do not visit between households, not even close kin, not even elderly parents. For example, if you need the grandparents’ help for childcare, then let your kids stay with the grandparents for this period. Do not drop them off and pick them up every day. This is to protect our seniors, and also to protect other people in Singapore.
I want to make a special appeal to older Singaporeans. I am one of you, so I know how you feel. When we are cooped up at home, we get restless and frustrated. We want to meet our friends, visit our grandchildren, stretch our legs, and resume our familiar routines – qigong sessions, karaoke groups, hanging out for kopi or a beer with friends. But please understand: We are telling you to stay at home for your own safety. Older people are more vulnerable to the virus. If we catch COVID-19, it is a serious matter. Our chances of dying are much higher, and if we get infected and spread the virus to our friends around our age, or bring the virus back home to our families, then, we put them in grave danger.
So please stay home. Use this chance to spend more time with your family, or watch your favourite TV programmes. If you need anything from outside, ask others to get it for you. If you have really no choice but to go out for food or necessities, make sure you wear a mask, and stay a safe distance away from everyone else. Do not linger and do not dawdle – come home once you have completed your errand.
Today is Good Friday. For Christians, it is a special time to reflect on the sacrifice of Christ. For Singaporeans, it is a time to acknowledge the sacrifices of our frontline workers, since COVID-19 broke out in Singapore. And for every one of us, it is a time to make our own sacrifices, to observe the circuit breaker strictly, in order to stop the virus from spreading among us.
I know the measures are very inconvenient. They also come at high cost to our economy. But the more strictly we observe the restrictions, the faster they will work, and the sooner we can ease up on them. If some of us fail to comply strictly with the measures, the circuit breaker will fail, then all our inconvenience, pain and sacrifice will have been in vain. COVID-19 is very contagious. It only takes a few people to let down their guard, and the virus will slip through. We need everyone to play their part.
The next few weeks will be tough. I will speak to you like this from time to time. So that you know what the real situation is, what we are thinking, what you can expect and how you can play your part to fight this virus. The situation will get worse before it gets better, but we have to get through this, before the sun comes out and shines on us again. For us to get there as soon as possible, please stay at home. Thank you for your cooperation.
Remarks in Chinese by PM Lee Hsien Loong on the COVID-2019 situation on 10 April 2020
这个星期，好几个客工宿舍暴发疫情，许多宿舍都出现病例。为此，政府采取了全面的应对措施，尽全力防止病毒在宿舍进一步扩散，保护客工们的健康和安全。昨天，部长们详细说明了我们所采取的措施，并宣布成立特别工作组，专门处理客工宿舍的情况 。卫生部、人力部以及新加坡武装部队和内政团队等部门都参与这项特别工作。目前，特别工作组已派人在所有的宿舍协调各方面的运作，并迅速应对客工的需求，照顾好他们。请大家不要担心，我们正密切留意客工的生活情况，确保他们获得医疗和其他方面的照顾，同时也与他们的雇主合作，让他们能够继续拿到工资，并把钱汇给家人。 他们离乡背井到新加坡打拼，辛勤工作只为家人能过上更好的生活。新加坡人能拥有优质的政府组屋、世界一流的机场和四通八达的地铁网络，他们有很大的功劳。如果您是客工的家人，并正在观看视频，我想对您说。我们非常感谢，您的儿子、父亲和丈夫对新加坡所作出的贡献。因此，我们有责任照顾好他们。请您放心，我们一定会尽全力照顾好您的亲人，让他们健康地、安全地回到您的身边。我代表全新加坡人民感谢所有的客工们，我们会继续为客工们加油打气。
除了客工宿舍的情形以外，病毒在社区传播的情况也令人关注。有许多患者同之前的感染群和病例都没有关联，我们不知道他们是如何染病的，传播者又是谁。 也就是说，传播者还没有被隔离起来，很可能还在社区里，并无意间把病毒传给更多人 。这一个星期的新确诊病例，大多数大概是在阻断措施推行之前就已经受到感染。这也就是为什么我们需要收紧措施，彻底阻断病毒的传播。只要大家减少和他人的接触，就等于减少感染到病毒，或者把病毒传开的风险。这一来，过了一段时间，新增病例也就会随之减少。好几个国家的情形都是这样，比如中国，韩国和新西兰，都采取了类似的措施，并取得成效 。但这需要时间和人民的通力合作。
English translation of the remarks in Chinese by PM Lee Hsien Loong on the COVID-2019 situation on 10 April 2020
My fellow Singaporeans
Over the past week, we have seen outbreaks in several foreign worker dormitories, with cases emerging in many dormitories. We have responded comprehensively to contain the spread in the dormitories, and to protect the foreign workers. Yesterday, the ministers explained the measures we are taking, and announced that they have set up a special interagency task force to handle the situation in the dormitories. MOH, MOM, the SAF, the Home Team, are all involved. The task force has deployed people to coordinate operations in all the dormitories, to respond quickly to the workers’ needs, and to take good care of them. Please be assured that we are paying close attention to the welfare of the foreign workers, to ensure that they get the medical care and treatment they need. We will also work with their employers to make sure they will be paid their salaries, and can remit money home. They came to Singapore to work hard for a living, and provide for their families back home. They have played an important part building our quality HDB flats, world-class airport and MRT lines. If you are a family member of the foreign worker watching my video, I want to tell you that, we appreciate the work and contributions of your sons, fathers, and husbands in Singapore. We feel responsible for their well-being. We will do our best to take care of their health, livelihood and welfare here, and to let them go home, safe and sound, to you. On behalf of all Singaporeans, I thank all workers and we wish them well.
Other than the dormitories, the spread of the virus in the community is also a matter of concern. Many of the cases are unlinked. We do not know how they got infected, or from whom. Which is to say, the persons who infected them have not been quarantined, and are very likely still out there, infecting more people unknowingly. Most of the new cases this week were probably infected earlier, before the circuit breaker started. And this is precisely why we need the circuit breaker to completely stop the spread of the virus. If we all reduce our contact with others, we also reduce our chances of catching or transmitting the virus. Thus, the number of new cases will fall after a while. This has been the experience of countries like China, South Korea, and New Zealand, which have adopted similar measures and achieved results. But it will take some time and requires the full cooperation of the people.
I spoke to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand yesterday. She told me that New Zealand imposed a lock down late last month, but it was only on Day 11 that they started to see new cases coming down. So we have to be patient, but we also have to be resolute.
More importantly, we need everyone to take the circuit breaker very seriously. Stay at home. Stop socialising in person with others, whether it is with friends, or even extended family members who do not live with you. Keep in touch with them by other means, for example online, on the phone, writing emails or even letters. But, as far as possible, try not to meet them in person or make physical contact, because that is how the virus is spread. I hope everyone can consider the consequences and think about the effect of our actions on others, before stepping out of our homes.
Some have told me that their elderly parents live on their own and need their children’s help to go about their daily lives. We understand your difficulties and there is some flexibility in the law to accommodate your situation. Even then, unless absolutely necessary, please do not visit your relatives, not even your closest kin. For example, if you need the grandparents’ help for childcare, consider letting the kids stay with their grandparents for the time being, to avoid dropping them off and picking them up every day. Doing so not only protects the seniors but also protects all of us.
I want to make a special appeal to our seniors. I am one of you, so I understand how you feel. When we are cooped up at home for a long time, it is inevitable that we get restless and frustrated. We want to go out and meet our friends, visit our grandchildren, and resume our daily routines – practising Tai Chi, taking singing lessons, and catching up with our friends over kopi. But please understand: we are telling you to stay home for your own safety. Older people are more vulnerable to the virus. If we catch the virus, our chances of survival are much lower than those who are younger. And if we get infected and spread the virus to friends around our age, or to our families, the consequence would be unthinkable.
Hence, I urge everyone to stay at home, do not go out. Use this chance to spend more time with your family, or watch your favourite TV programmes. Every Monday to Thursday, you can also catch e-getai on our Facebook for your entertainment. If you need to buy food or necessities, ask others to help. If you have really no choice but to go out for food or necessities, make sure you wear a mask, and stay a safe distance away from everyone else. And do not linger – come home once you have completed your errand.
I know the measures are very inconvenient. They also come at high cost to our economy. COVID-19 is very contagious; we need everyone to strictly observe the restrictions in order to completely stop the virus from spreading among us. It only takes a few people to let down our guard, and the circuit breaker will fail. Then all our inconvenience, pain and sacrifice will have been in vain! We all hope to ride out this difficult period as quickly as possible, and the best way to do so is everyone doing his or her part and being socially responsible. Do not roam, it would be disastrous if you were to get infected; Stay at home, be praised for being civic-minded.
The next few weeks will be tough. During this period of circuit breaker, I will speak to you like this from time to time. So that you know what the Government is doing, why we are doing so, how will this affect your life, and how you can play your part. The situation will get worse before it improves. In the face of this sudden storm, so long as we stay united and support one another, the sun will come out and shine on us again. For us to get there as soon as possible, please stay at home. Thank you for your cooperation.
Remarks in Malay by PM Lee Hsien Loong on the COVID-2019 situation on 10 April 2020
Saudara saudari sekalian
Minggu lalu, saya berkongsi tentang mengapa kita perlu ambil langkah-langkah lebih ketat untuk menyekat penularan COVID-19.
Pemerintah memang sudah jangkakan meningkatnya kes-kes tempatan. Kita juga bimbang lebih banyak kes akan timbul dari kelompok dormitori pekerja asing. Malangnya, selepas seminggu, apa yang kita khuatirkan, sudahpun berlaku.
Semalam, menteri-menteri telah menerangkan tindakan menyeluruh untuk melindungi kesihatan dan kebajikan pekerja asing kita. Angkatan Bersenjata Singapura, Pasukan Polis Republik Singapura dan beberapa kementerian lain akan bekerjasama memantau perkembangan di dormitori ini dan memenuhi keperluan penting para pekerja. Mereka akan pastikan para pekerja ada makanan dan minuman, rangkaian WIFI untuk berhubung dengan keluarga di negara masing-masing dan untuk hiburan.
Kami memberi perhatian yang penuh kepada kebajikan pekerja asing. Mereka datang ke sini dan bekerja keras demi mencari rezeki bagi keluarga masing-masing. Mereka membuat sumbangan besar dalam membina flat-flat HDB, lapangan terbang Changi dan rangkaian MRT kita. Kami sediakan rawatan dan penjagaan kesihatan yang mereka perlukan. Kami bekerjasama dengan majikan mereka untuk pastikan mereka menerima gaji dan boleh menghantar wang kepada keluarga mereka.
Jika ada anggota keluarga mereka yang menyaksikan video ini, ini mesej saya untuk anda: Kami semua menghargai kerja dan sumbangan anak, ayah atau suami anda di Singapura. Begitu juga dengan pekerja asing wanita yang menjadi pembantu rumah di sini. Kami rasa bertanggungjawab atas kebajikan mereka dan kami akan lakukan sedaya-upaya untuk pastikan mereka sihat dan sejahtera apabila kembali ke pangkuan anda. Saya yakin semua rakyat Singapura juga berasa demikian.
Di luar dormitori, jumlah kes-kes baru terus meningkat. Separuh tidak dapat dikesan sumber jangkitannya – dari mana atau dari siapa. Jadi individu yang menjangkiti orang lain masih di antara kita, dan terus menjangkiti lebih ramai orang lagi.
Itulah sebabnya, kita perlukan usaha untuk memutuskan jangkitan virus ini. Jika kita kurangkan bersentuhan dengan orang lain, kita juga kurangkan kemungkinan dijangkiti atau menjangkiti orang lain. Langkah ini genting untuk kurangkan jumlah jangkitan baru, sama ada yang berkait ataupun tidak. Dengan ini, barulah jumlah kes akan merosot.
Dari itu, saya mahu setiap anda mengambil serius langkah-langkah lebih ketat ini. Duduk di rumah. Jangan melawat orang lain, walaupun saudara-mara rapat atau ibu bapa yang tidak tinggal bersama. Anda boleh terus berhubungan tetapi dengan cara lain seperti melalui telefon, dalam talian, menulis emel ataupun surat! Tapi jangan bersentuhan kerana itulah caranya virus ini merebak.
Saya mahu membuat rayuan khas kepada warga emas Singapura. Saya seorang warga emas juga. Jadi saya pun rasa apa yang anda rasakan. Bila kita terperap di rumah, kita rasa resah-gelisah. Kita mahu berjumpa kawan-kawan, bertemu anak cucu kita dan teruskan kegiatan harian seperti kelas senaman, bersembang dan minum kopi dengan teman-teman. Tetapi cuba faham: kita meminta anda untuk duduk di rumah demi keselamatan anda sendiri. Warga emas lebih terdedah kepada jangkitan virus ini. Jika kita dijangkiti, kemungkinan kita terkorban, sangat tinggi. Dan jika kita terjangkit dan menjangkiti kawan-kawan yang sebaya, atau bawa pulang virus ini dan menjangkiti keluarga kita sendiri pula, ini sangat merbahaya.
Jadi, tolong duduk di rumah. Gunakan waktu ini untuk bersama-sama keluarga anda. Jika anda perlukan apa-apa, minta sahaja bantuan orang lain. Jika terpaksa keluar rumah untuk lakukan perkara penting, gunakan pelitup dan pastikan anda jaga jarak selamat dari orang lain. Jangan berlengah. Segera pulang ke rumah.
Saya tahu semua ini menyusahkan dan ia juga menjejas teruk ekonomi kita. Tetapi jika kita tidak melakukannya dengan tegas, dan tidak berjaya mengekang penyebaran virus ini, semua keperitan dan pengorbanan kita ini, akan sia-sia sahaja. COVID-19 adalah penyakit yang sangat mudah dijangkiti. Ia hanya memerlukan beberapa orang sahaja yang leka, dan semua usaha kita akan musnah. Jadi kita perlukan setiap warga untuk memainkan peranan masing-masing.
Minggu-minggu mendatang adalah tempoh yang sangat sukar. Saya akan terus berkongsi seperti ini supaya anda jelas apa yang Pemerintah fikirkan, apa yang boleh anda jangkakan dan bagaimana anda boleh mainkan peranan anda untuk tewaskan virus ini. Keadaan akan bertambah buruk sebelum ia menjadi lebih baik. Kita terpaksa melalui masa-masa sukar ini untuk ubah keadaan. Dari itu, sila duduk di rumah ya. Terima kasih atas kerjasama anda semua.
English translation of the remarks in Malay by PM Lee Hsien Loong on the COVID-2019 situation on 10 April 2020
My fellow Singaporeans
Last week, I shared why we need to take stricter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Government has expected an increase in the number of local cases. We are also worried that more cases will arise from clusters in the foreign workers dormitories. Unfortunately, after a week, what we feared has already happened.
Yesterday, the ministers have explained the comprehensive action that has been taken to protect the health and welfare of our foreign workers. The Singapore Armed Forces, the Republic of Singapore Police Force and several other ministries will work together to monitor the development in the dormitory and attend to the workers’ essential needs. They will ensure that the workers have good food and drinks, access to WIFI network to communicate with their families in their respective countries and entertainment. The team is being supervised by Senior Minister, Teo Chee Hean.
We give our full attention to the welfare of foreign workers. They come here and work hard to provide for their families. They have made significant contributions in building our HDB flats, Changi airport and MRT network. We are providing medical treatment and healthcare needs that they require. We are working with their employers to ensure that they receive their salaries and can send back money to their families.
If there are members of their family who are watching this video, this is my message to you: We all appreciate the work and contributions of your children, fathers or husbands in Singapore. The same goes to female foreign workers who are employed as domestic helpers here. We feel responsible for their welfare and we will do our best to keep them healthy and safe when they return home. I am confident that all Singaporeans also feel the same.
Outside the dormitories, the number of new cases continue to increase. The source of the infection for half of the cases cannot be detected - from where or from whom. So, individuals who have infected others are still among us, and continue to infect more people.
That is why we need to break the chain of infection of the virus. If we reduce physical contact with others, we also reduce the possibility of being infected or infecting others. This measure is critical to reduce the number of new infections, whether it is related or not. Only with this, will the number of cases decline.
That is why we need to break the chain of infection of the virus. If we reduce physical contact with others, we also reduce the possibility of being infected or infecting others. This measure is critical to reduce the number of new infections, whether it is linked or unlinked. Only with this, will the number of cases decline.
I want to make a special appeal to older Singaporeans. I am also a senior citizen. So I feel what you feel. When we are cooped up at home, we feel restless. We want to meet our friends, see our grandchildren and continue with daily activities such as exercise classes, chit-chat and hang out for a kopi with friends. But please understand: we are asking you to stay at home for your own safety. Older people are more vulnerable to the virus. If we are infected, our chances of dying from the virus, is very high. And if we get infected and spread the virus to our friends of the same age, or bring the virus back home and then infect our own family, this is very dangerous.
So, please stay at home. Use this chance to spend more time with your family. If you need anything, just seek help from others. If you must go out to do the essentials, wear a mask and keep a safe distance away from everyone else. Do not linger. Come home as soon as possible.
I know these measures are very inconvenient and it has impacted our economy badly. But if we do not strictly enforce the measures, and do not succeed in breaking the chain of transmission, then all the inconvenience and our sacrifices will be in vain. COVID-19 is a very contagious illness. It only takes a few negligent individuals to break the rules, and all our efforts will go down the drain. We need everyone to play their part.
The next few weeks will be a tough period. I will continue to share with you like this so that you are clear on what the Government is thinking, what you can expect and how you can play your part to defeat this virus. The situation will get worse before it improves. We have to traverse these difficult times to change the situation. So, please stay at home. Thank you for your cooperation.
Tamil translation of remarks in English by PM Lee Hsien Loong on the COVID-2019 situation on 10 April 2020
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