COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore

The COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case in Singapore was confirmed on 23 January 2020. Early cases were primarily imported until local transmission began to develop in February and March. By late-March and April, COVID-19 clusters were detected at multiple sleeping quarters, for which soon contributed to an overwhelming proportion of new cases in the country.

COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore
(clockwise from top)
  • Marina Bay Sands and ArtScience Museum lit up with messages of hope
  • Controlled entry into Compass One
  • Tables and seats cordoned off with tape
  • Empty shelves after panic buying at a FairPrice supermarket
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationSingapore
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseSentosa, Southern Islands
Arrival date23 January 2020
(1 year, 6 months, 1 week and 4 days)
Confirmed cases 65,315[1]
Active cases 2,142
Recovered 63,033[1]
Deaths
38[1]
Fatality rate 0.06%
Government website
www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19

On 22 January 2020, a multi-ministerial committee was formed with Minister of Finance, Lawrence Wong and Minister of Trade and Industry, Gan Kim Yong as the co-chairs and Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat as advisors. On 23 April 2021, Lee announced the appointment of Ong Ye Kung as the Minister for Health, another committee co-chair alongside incumbents Lawrence Wong and Gan Kim Yong from 15 May 2021.[2][3] Singapore also contributed US$500,000 to support the World Health Organization's (WHO) efforts against COVID-19.[4]

In response to the growing number of new cases in early 2020, Singapore enacted the "COVID-19 Control Order", announcing on 3 April 2020 a stringent set of preventive measures collectively called the "circuit breaker lockdown". Initially planned to be applied from 7 April to 4 May, the circuit breaker lockdown was extended to 1 June on 21 April following continued untraced transmission within the community. The Multi-Ministry Taskforce on 19 May announced the three-phased approach to resume activities safely with the gradual re-opening of economic activities in each phase;[5] Phase 1 lasted for 17 days from 2 June and ended on 18 June, with Phase 2 lasting for 6 months and 8 days from 19 June to 27 December. Singapore was in Phase 3 from 28 December 2020 until 7 May 2021;[6] following a spike in community cases from late April to early May 2021, it temporarily reverted to Phase 2 on 8 May,[7] which was raised to "Heightened Alert" as a tightened measure from 16 May to 13 June.[8] Following a brief period in "Phase 3 Heightened Alert",[9] Singapore again reverted to Phase 2 Heightened Alert on 22 July 2021 after a fresh surge of community cases from early to mid-July.[10] A mass vaccination programme is currently under way following the approval and acquisition of the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.[11][12]

As of 3 August 2021, 2,142 active cases remain out of a total of 65,315 confirmed cases, with 63,033 recoveries and 38 deaths.[1] Singapore currently has a case fatality rate of 0.06%, one of the lowest in the world.[13] It introduced what was considered one of the largest and best-organised epidemic control programs in the world, along with fellow neighbouring countries such as South Korea and Vietnam.[14][15] Various measures have been taken to mass test the population for the virus, such as isolating any infected people as well as introducing contact tracing apps such as TraceTogether (both app and token) and strictly quarantining those they had close contact with. Such measures has helped avoid further lockdowns after the end of the circuit breaker lockdown measures in June 2020.

Epidemiology

COVID-19 cases in Singapore  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Hospitalised        In community facilities[lower-roman 1]
2020202020212021
JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAugAugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec
JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAugAug
Last 15 daysLast 15 days
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-01-231(n.a.)
2020-01-24
3(+200%)
2020-01-25
3(=)
2020-01-26
4(+33%)
2020-01-27
5(+25%)
2020-01-28
7(+40%)
2020-01-29
10(+43%)
2020-01-30
13(+30%)
2020-01-31
16(+23%)
2020-02-01
18(+12%)
18(=)
2020-02-04
24(+33%)
2020-02-05
28(+17%)
2020-02-06
30(+7.1%)
2020-02-07
33(+10%)
2020-02-08
40(+21%)
2020-02-09
43(+7.5%)
2020-02-10
45(+4.7%)
2020-02-11
47(+4.4%)
2020-02-12
50(+6.4%)
2020-02-13
58(+16%)
2020-02-14
67(+16%)
2020-02-15
72(+7.5%)
2020-02-16
75(+4.2%)
2020-02-17
77(+2.7%)
2020-02-18
81(+5.2%)
2020-02-19
84(+3.7%)
2020-02-20
85(+1.2%)
2020-02-21
86(+1.2%)
2020-02-22
89(+3.5%)
2020-02-23
89(=)
2020-02-24
90(+1.1%)
2020-02-25
91(+1.1%)
2020-02-26
93(+2.2%)
2020-02-27
96(+3.2%)
2020-02-28
98(+2.1%)
2020-02-29
102(+4.1%)
2020-03-01
106(+3.9%)
2020-03-02
108(+1.9%)
2020-03-03
110(+1.9%)
2020-03-04
112(+1.8%)
2020-03-05
117(+4.5%)
2020-03-06
130(+11%)
2020-03-07
138(+6.2%)
2020-03-08
150(+8.7%)
2020-03-09
160(+6.7%)
2020-03-10
166(+3.8%)
2020-03-11
178(+7.2%)
2020-03-12
187(+5.1%)
2020-03-13
200(+7%)
2020-03-14
212(+6%)
2020-03-15
226(+6.6%)
2020-03-16
243(+7.5%)
2020-03-17
266(+9.5%)
2020-03-18
313(+18%)
2020-03-19
345(+10%)
2020-03-20
385(+12%)
2020-03-21
432(+12%)2(n.a.)
2020-03-22
455(+5.3%)2(=)
2020-03-23
509(+12%)2(=)
2020-03-24
558(+9.6%)2(=)
2020-03-25
631(+13%)2(=)
2020-03-26
683(+8.2%)2(=)
2020-03-27
732(+7.2%)2(=)
2020-03-28
802(+9.6%)2(=)
2020-03-29
844(+5.2%)3(+50%)
2020-03-30
879(+4.1%)3(=)
2020-03-31
926(+5.3%)3(=)
2020-04-01
1,000(+8%)3(=)
2020-04-02
1,049(+4.9%)4(+33%)
2020-04-03
1,114(+6.2%)5(+25%)
2020-04-04
1,189(+6.7%)6(+20%)
2020-04-05
1,309(+10%)6(=)
2020-04-06
1,375(+5%)6(=)
2020-04-07
1,481(+7.7%)6(=)
2020-04-08
1,623(+9.6%)6(=)
2020-04-09
1,910(+18%)6(=)
2020-04-10
2,108(+10%)7(+17%)
2020-04-11
2,299(+9.1%)8(+14%)
2020-04-12
2,532(+10%)8(=)
2020-04-13
2,918(+15%)9(+12%)
2020-04-14
3,252(+11%)10(+11%)
2020-04-15
3,699(+14%)10(=)
2020-04-16
4,427(+20%)10(=)
2020-04-17
5,050(+14%)11(+10%)
2020-04-18
5,992(+19%)11(=)
2020-04-19
6,588(+9.9%)11(=)
2020-04-20
8,014(+22%)11(=)
2020-04-21
9,125(+14%)11(=)
2020-04-22
10,141(+11%)12(+9.1%)
2020-04-23
11,178(+10%)12(=)
2020-04-24
12,075(+8%)12(=)
2020-04-25
12,693(+5.1%)12(=)
2020-04-26
13,624(+7.3%)12(=)
2020-04-27
14,423(+5.9%)14(+17%)
2020-04-28
14,951(+3.7%)14(=)
2020-04-29
15,641(+4.6%)14(=)
2020-04-30
16,169(+3.4%)15(+7.1%)
2020-05-01
17,101(+5.8%)16(+6.7%)
2020-05-02
17,548(+2.6%)17(+6.2%)
2020-05-03
18,205(+3.7%)18(+5.9%)
2020-05-04
18,778(+3.1%)18(=)
2020-05-05
19,410(+3.4%)18(=)
2020-05-06
20,198(+4.1%)20(+11%)
2020-05-07
20,939(+3.7%)20(=)
2020-05-08
21,707(+3.7%)20(=)
2020-05-09
22,460(+3.5%)20(=)
2020-05-10
23,336(+3.9%)20(=)
2020-05-11
23,787(+1.9%)21(+5%)
2020-05-12
24,671(+3.7%)21(=)
2020-05-13
25,346(+2.7%)21(=)
2020-05-14
26,098(+3%)21(=)
2020-05-15
26,891(+3%)21(=)
2020-05-16
27,356(+1.7%)22(+4.8%)
2020-05-17
28,038(+2.5%)22(=)
2020-05-18
28,343(+1.1%)22(=)
2020-05-19
28,794(+1.6%)22(=)
2020-05-20
29,364(+2%)22(=)
2020-05-21
29,812(+1.5%)23(+4.5%)
2020-05-22
30,426(+2.1%)23(=)
2020-05-23
31,068(+2.1%)23(=)
2020-05-24
31,616(+1.8%)23(=)
2020-05-25
31,960(+1.1%)23(=)
2020-05-26
32,343(+1.2%)23(=)
2020-05-27
32,876(+1.6%)23(=)
2020-05-28
33,249(+1.1%)23(=)
2020-05-29
33,860(+1.8%)23(=)
2020-05-30
34,366(+1.5%)23(=)
2020-05-31
34,884(+1.5%)23(=)
2020-06-01
35,292(+1.2%)24(+4.3%)
2020-06-02
35,836(+1.5%)24(=)
2020-06-03
36,405(+1.6%)24(=)
2020-06-04
36,922(+1.4%)24(=)
2020-06-05
37,183(+0.71%)24(=)
2020-06-06
37,526(+0.92%)25(+4.2%)
2020-06-07
37,910(+1%)25(=)
2020-06-08
38,296(+1%)25(=)
2020-06-09
38,514(+0.57%)25(=)
2020-06-10
38,965(+1.2%)25(=)
2020-06-11
39,387(+1.1%)25(=)
2020-06-12
39,850(+1.2%)25(=)
2020-06-13
40,197(+0.87%)26(+4%)
2020-06-14
40,604(+1%)26(=)
2020-06-15
40,818(+0.53%)26(=)
2020-06-16
40,969(+0.37%)26(=)
2020-06-17
41,216(+0.6%)26(=)
2020-06-18
41,473(+0.62%)26(=)
2020-06-19
41,615(+0.34%)26(=)
2020-06-20
41,833(+0.52%)26(=)
2020-06-21
42,095(+0.63%)26(=)
2020-06-22
42,313(+0.52%)26(=)
2020-06-23
42,432(+0.28%)26(=)
2020-06-24
42,623(+0.45%)26(=)
2020-06-25
42,736(+0.27%)26(=)
2020-06-26
42,955(+0.51%)26(=)
2020-06-27
43,246(+0.68%)26(=)
2020-06-28
43,459(+0.49%)26(=)
2020-06-29
43,661(+0.46%)26(=)
2020-06-30
43,907(+0.56%)26(=)
2020-07-01
44,122(+0.49%)26(=)
2020-07-02
44,310(+0.43%)26(=)
2020-07-03
44,479(+0.38%)26(=)
2020-07-04
44,664(+0.42%)26(=)
2020-07-05
44,800(+0.3%)26(=)
2020-07-06
44,983(+0.41%)26(=)
2020-07-07
45,140(+0.35%)26(=)
2020-07-08
45,297(+0.35%)26(=)
2020-07-09
45,422(+0.28%)26(=)
2020-07-10
45,612(+0.42%)26(=)
2020-07-11
45,782(+0.37%)26(=)
2020-07-12
45,960(+0.39%)26(=)
2020-07-13
46,282(+0.7%)26(=)
2020-07-14
46,629(+0.75%)27(+3.8%)
2020-07-15
46,878(+0.53%)27(=)
2020-07-16
47,126(+0.53%)27(=)
2020-07-17
47,453(+0.69%)27(=)
2020-07-18
47,655(+0.43%)27(=)
2020-07-19
47,912(+0.54%)27(=)
2020-07-20
48,035(+0.26%)27(=)
2020-07-21
48,434(+0.83%)27(=)
2020-07-22
48,744(+0.64%)27(=)
2020-07-23
49,098(+0.73%)27(=)
2020-07-24
49,375(+0.56%)27(=)
2020-07-25
49,888(+1%)27(=)
2020-07-26
50,369(+0.96%)27(=)
2020-07-27
50,838(+0.93%)27(=)
2020-07-28
51,197(+0.71%)27(=)
2020-07-29
51,531(+0.65%)27(=)
2020-07-30
51,809(+0.54%)27(=)
2020-07-31
52,205(+0.76%)27(=)
2020-08-01
52,512(+0.59%)27(=)
2020-08-02
52,825(+0.6%)27(=)
2020-08-03
53,051(+0.43%)27(=)
2020-08-04
53,346(+0.56%)27(=)
2020-08-05
54,254(+1.7%)27(=)
2020-08-06
54,555(+0.55%)27(=)
2020-08-07
54,797(+0.44%)27(=)
2020-08-08
54,929(+0.24%)27(=)
2020-08-09
55,104(+0.32%)27(=)
2020-08-10
55,292(+0.34%)27(=)
2020-08-11
55,353(+0.11%)27(=)
2020-08-12
55,395(+0.08%)27(=)
2020-08-13
55,497(+0.18%)27(=)
2020-08-14
55,580(+0.15%)27(=)
2020-08-15
55,661(+0.15%)27(=)
2020-08-16
55,747(+0.15%)27(=)
2020-08-17
55,838(+0.16%)27(=)
2020-08-18
55,938(+0.18%)27(=)
2020-08-19
56,031(+0.17%)27(=)
2020-08-20
56,099(+0.12%)27(=)
2020-08-21
56,216(+0.21%)27(=)
2020-08-22
56,266(+0.09%)27(=)
2020-08-23
56,353(+0.15%)27(=)
2020-08-24
56,404(+0.09%)27(=)
2020-08-25
56,435(+0.05%)27(=)
2020-08-26
56,495(+0.11%)27(=)
2020-08-27
56,572(+0.14%)27(=)
2020-08-28
56,666(+0.17%)27(=)
2020-08-29
56,717(+0.09%)27(=)
2020-08-30
56,771(+0.1%)27(=)
2020-08-31
56,812(+0.07%)27(=)
2020-09-01
56,852(+0.07%)27(=)
2020-09-02
56,860(+0.01%)27(=)
2020-09-03
56,908(+0.08%)27(=)
2020-09-04
56,948(+0.07%)27(=)
2020-09-05
56,982(+0.06%)27(=)
2020-09-06
57,022(+0.07%)27(=)
2020-09-07
57,044(+0.04%)27(=)
2020-09-08
57,091(+0.08%)27(=)
2020-09-09
57,166(+0.13%)27(=)
2020-09-10
57,229(+0.11%)27(=)
2020-09-11
57,315(+0.15%)27(=)
2020-09-12
57,357(+0.07%)27(=)
2020-09-13
57,406(+0.09%)27(=)
2020-09-14
57,454(+0.08%)27(=)
2020-09-15
57,488(+0.06%)27(=)
2020-09-16
57,515(+0.05%)27(=)
2020-09-17
57,532(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-09-18
57,543(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-09-19
57,558(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-09-20
57,576(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-09-21
57,606(+0.05%)27(=)
2020-09-22
57,627(+0.04%)27(=)
2020-09-23
57,639(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-09-24
57,654(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-09-25
57,665(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-09-26
57,685(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-09-27
57,700(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-09-28
57,715(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-09-29
57,742(+0.05%)27(=)
2020-09-30
57,765(+0.04%)27(=)
2020-10-01
57,784(+0.03%)27(=)
2020-10-02
57,794(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-10-03
57,800(+0.01%)27(=)
2020-10-04
57,812(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-10-05
57,819(+0.01%)27(=)
2020-10-06
57,830(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-10-07
57,840(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-10-08
57,849(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-10-09
57,859(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-10-10
57,866(+0.01%)27(=)
2020-10-11
57,876(+0.02%)27(=)
2020-10-12
57,880(+0.01%)28(+3.7%)
2020-10-13
57,884(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-14
57,889(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-15
57,892(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-16
57,901(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-10-17
57,904(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-18
57,911(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-19
57,915(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-20
57,921(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-21
57,933(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-10-22
57,941(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-23
57,951(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-10-24
57,965(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-10-25
57,970(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-26
57,973(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-27
57,980(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-28
57,987(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-29
57,994(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-10-30
58,003(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-10-31
58,015(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-11-01
58,019(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-02
58,020(=)28(=)
2020-11-03
58,029(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-11-04
58,036(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-05
58,043(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-06
58,047(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-07
58,054(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-08
58,056(=)28(=)
2020-11-09
58,064(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-10
58,073(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-11-11
58,091(+0.03%)28(=)
2020-11-12
58,102(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-11-13
58,114(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-11-14
58,116(=)28(=)
2020-11-15
58,119(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-16
58,124(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-17
58,130(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-18
58,135(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-19
58,139(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-20
58,143(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-21
58,148(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-22
58,160(+0.02%)28(=)
2020-11-23
58,165(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-24
58,183(+0.03%)28(=)
2020-11-25
58,190(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-26
58,195(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-27
58,199(+0.01%)28(=)
2020-11-28
58,205(+0.01%)29(+3.6%)
2020-11-29
58,213(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-11-30
58,218(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-01
58,228(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-02
58,230(=)29(=)
2020-12-03
58,239(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-04
58,242(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-05
58,255(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-06
58,260(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-07
58,273(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-08
58,285(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-09
58,291(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-10
58,297(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-11
58,305(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-12
58,313(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-13
58,320(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-14
58,325(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-15
58,341(+0.03%)29(=)
2020-12-16
58,353(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-17
58,377(+0.04%)29(=)
2020-12-18
58,386(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-19
58,403(+0.03%)29(=)
2020-12-20
58,422(+0.03%)29(=)
2020-12-21
58,432(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-22
58,461(+0.05%)29(=)
2020-12-23
58,482(+0.04%)29(=)
2020-12-24
58,495(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-25
58,509(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-26
58,519(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-27
58,524(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-28
58,529(+0.01%)29(=)
2020-12-29
58,542(+0.02%)29(=)
2020-12-30
58,569(+0.05%)29(=)
2020-12-31
58,599(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-01
58,629(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-02
58,662(+0.06%)29(=)
2021-01-03
58,697(+0.06%)29(=)
2021-01-04
58,721(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-01-05
58,749(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-06
58,780(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-07
58,813(+0.06%)29(=)
2021-01-08
58,836(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-01-09
58,865(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-10
58,907(+0.07%)29(=)
2021-01-11
58,929(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-01-12
58,946(+0.03%)29(=)
2021-01-13
58,984(+0.06%)29(=)
2021-01-14
59,029(+0.08%)29(=)
2021-01-15
59,059(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-16
59,083(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-01-17
59,113(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-18
59,127(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-01-19
59,157(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-01-20
59,197(+0.07%)29(=)
2021-01-21
59,235(+0.06%)29(=)
2021-01-22
59,250(+0.03%)29(=)
2021-01-23
59,260(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-01-24
59,308(+0.08%)29(=)
2021-01-25
59,352(+0.07%)29(=)
2021-01-26
59,366(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-01-27
59,391(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-01-28
59,425(+0.06%)29(=)
2021-01-29
59,449(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-01-30
59,507(+0.1%)29(=)
2021-01-31
59,536(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-02-01
59,565(+0.05%)29(=)
2021-02-02
59,584(+0.03%)29(=)
2021-02-03
59,602(+0.03%)29(=)
2021-02-04
59,624(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-02-05
59,649(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-02-06
59,675(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-02-07
59,699(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-02-08
59,721(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-02-09
59,732(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-10
59,747(+0.03%)29(=)
2021-02-11
59,759(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-12
59,777(+0.03%)29(=)
2021-02-13
59,786(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-14
59,800(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-15
59,809(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-16
59,810(=)29(=)
2021-02-17
59,821(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-18
59,832(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-19
59,846(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-20
59,858(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-21
59,869(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-22
59,879(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-23
59,883(+0.01%)29(=)
2021-02-24
59,890(+0.01%)29(=)
2021-02-25
59,900(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-26
59,913(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-27
59,925(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-02-28
59,936(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-01
59,948(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-02
59,956(+0.01%)29(=)
2021-03-03
59,979(+0.04%)29(=)
2021-03-04
59,998(+0.03%)29(=)
2021-03-05
60,007(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-06
60,020(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-07
60,033(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-08
60,046(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-09
60,052(+0.01%)29(=)
2021-03-10
60,062(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-11
60,070(+0.01%)29(=)
2021-03-12
60,080(+0.02%)29(=)
2021-03-13
60,088(+0.01%)30(+3.4%)
2021-03-14
60,105(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-03-15
60,117(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-16
60,128(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-17
60,137(+0.01%)30(=)
2021-03-18
60,152(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-19
60,167(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-20
60,184(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-03-21
60,196(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-22
60,208(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-23
60,221(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-24
60,236(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-25
60,253(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-03-26
60,265(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-27
60,288(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-03-28
60,300(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-03-29
60,321(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-03-30
60,347(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-03-31
60,381(+0.06%)30(=)
2021-04-01
60,407(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-02
60,450(+0.07%)30(=)
2021-04-03
60,468(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-04-04
60,478(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-04-05
60,495(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-04-06
60,519(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-07
60,554(+0.06%)30(=)
2021-04-08
60,575(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-04-09
60,601(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-10
60,633(+0.05%)30(=)
2021-04-11
60,653(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-04-12
60,678(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-13
60,692(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-04-14
60,719(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-15
60,735(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-04-16
60,769(+0.06%)30(=)
2021-04-17
60,808(+0.06%)30(=)
2021-04-18
60,831(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-19
60,851(+0.03%)30(=)
2021-04-20
60,865(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-04-21
60,880(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-04-22
60,904(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-23
60,943(+0.06%)30(=)
2021-04-24
60,966(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-25
61,006(+0.07%)30(=)
2021-04-26
61,051(+0.07%)30(=)
2021-04-27
61,063(+0.02%)30(=)
2021-04-28
61,086(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-04-29
61,121(+0.06%)30(=)
2021-04-30
61,145(+0.04%)30(=)
2021-05-01
61,179(+0.06%)31(+3.3%)
2021-05-02
61,218(+0.06%)31(=)
2021-05-03
61,235(+0.03%)31(=)
2021-05-04
61,252(+0.03%)31(=)
2021-05-05
61,268(+0.03%)31(=)
2021-05-06
61,286(+0.03%)31(=)
2021-05-07
61,311(+0.04%)31(=)
2021-05-08
61,331(+0.03%)31(=)
2021-05-09
61,359(+0.05%)31(=)
2021-05-10
61,378(+0.03%)31(=)
2021-05-11
61,403(+0.04%)31(=)
2021-05-12
61,419(+0.03%)31(=)
2021-05-13
61,453(+0.06%)31(=)
2021-05-14
61,505(+0.08%)31(=)
2021-05-15
61,536(+0.05%)31(=)
2021-05-16
61,585(+0.08%)31(=)
2021-05-17
61,613(+0.05%)31(=)
2021-05-18
61,651(+0.06%)31(=)
2021-05-19
61,689(+0.06%)31(=)
2021-05-20
61,730(+0.07%)32(+3.2%)
2021-05-21
61,770(+0.06%)32(=)
2021-05-22
61,799(+0.05%)32(=)
2021-05-23
61,824(+0.04%)32(=)
2021-05-24
61,860(+0.06%)32(=)
2021-05-25
61,890(+0.05%)32(=)
2021-05-26
61,916(+0.04%)32(=)
2021-05-27
61,940(+0.04%)32(=)
2021-05-28
61,970(+0.05%)32(=)
2021-05-29
62,003(+0.05%)32(=)
2021-05-30
62,028(+0.04%)33(+3.1%)
2021-05-31
62,051(+0.04%)33(=)
2021-06-01
62,069(+0.03%)33(=)
2021-06-02
62,100(+0.05%)33(=)
2021-06-03
62,145(+0.07%)33(=)
2021-06-04
62,158(+0.02%)33(=)
2021-06-05
62,176(+0.03%)33(=)
2021-06-06
62,196(+0.03%)33(=)
2021-06-07
62,210(+0.02%)33(=)
2021-06-08
62,219(+0.01%)34(+3%)
2021-06-09
62,223(+0.01%)34(=)
2021-06-10
62,236(+0.02%)34(=)
2021-06-11
62,245(+0.01%)34(=)
2021-06-12
62,263(+0.03%)34(=)
2021-06-13
62,276(+0.02%)34(=)
2021-06-14
62,301(+0.04%)34(=)
2021-06-15
62,315(+0.02%)34(=)
2021-06-16
62,339(+0.04%)34(=)
2021-06-17
62,366(+0.04%)34(=)
2021-06-18
62,382(+0.03%)34(=)
2021-06-19
62,403(+0.03%)34(=)
2021-06-20
62,414(+0.02%)34(=)
2021-06-21
62,430(+0.03%)35(+2.9%)
2021-06-22
62,448(+0.03%)35(=)
2021-06-23
62,470(+0.04%)35(=)
2021-06-24
62,493(+0.04%)35(=)
2021-06-25
62,513(+0.03%)35(=)
2021-06-26
62,530(+0.03%)36(+2.9%)
2021-06-27
62,544(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-06-28
62,553(+0.01%)36(=)
2021-06-29
62,563(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-06-30
62,579(+0.03%)36(=)
2021-07-01
62,589(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-07-02
62,599(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-07-03
62,606(+0.01%)36(=)
2021-07-04
62,617(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-07-05
62,630(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-07-06
62,640(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-07-07
62,652(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-07-08
62,668(+0.03%)36(=)
2021-07-09
62,678(+0.02%)36(=)
2021-07-10
62,684(+0.01%)36(=)
2021-07-11
62,692(+0.01%)36(=)
2021-07-12
62,718(+0.04%)36(=)
2021-07-13
62,744(+0.04%)36(=)
2021-07-14
62,804(+0.1%)36(=)
2021-07-15
62,852(+0.08%)36(=)
2021-07-16
62,913(+0.1%)36(=)
2021-07-17
62,981(+0.11%)36(=)
2021-07-18
63,073(+0.15%)36(=)
2021-07-19
63,245(+0.27%)36(=)
2021-07-20
63,440(+0.31%)36(=)
2021-07-21
63,621(+0.29%)36(=)
2021-07-22
63,791(+0.27%)36(=)
2021-07-23
63,924(+0.21%)36(=)
2021-07-24
64,054(+0.2%)37(+2.8%)
2021-07-25
64,179(+0.2%)37(=)
2021-07-26
64,314(+0.21%)37(=)
2021-07-27
64,453(+0.22%)37(=)
2021-07-28
64,589(+0.21%)37(=)
2021-07-29
64,722(+0.21%)37(=)
2021-07-30
64,861(+0.21%)37(=)
2021-07-31
64,981(+0.19%)37(=)
2021-08-01
65,102(+0.19%)37(=)
2021-08-02
65,213(+0.17%)38(+2.7%)
2021-08-03
65,315(+0.16%)
Based on confirmed cases reported daily by the Ministry of Health correct as of 12pm on the day of the update.[16]

Notes:

  1. From 25 March 2020 onwards, cases who are clinically well enough to be discharged from medical care but still test positive for COVID-19 are discharged to isolation and cared for at private hospitals, or at Community Isolation Facilities.[lower-roman 2][lower-roman 3][lower-roman 4] From 23 April 2020, those with mild symptoms would also be isolated and cared for at such community facilities.[lower-roman 5]
  2. "Tighter Measures to Minimise Further Spread of COVID-19". Ministry of Health (Singapore). 24 March 2020. Archived from the original on 29 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  3. Choo, Yun Ting (10 April 2020). "First batch of Covid-19 patients transferred to Singapore Expo". The Straits Times. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  4. Chandramohan, Gaya (26 April 2020). "COVID-19: Behind the scenes at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility". CNA. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  5. "36 More Cases Discharged; 1,037 New Cases of COVID-19 Infection Confirmed". Ministry of Health (Singapore). 23 April 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.

Background

On 31 December 2019, health authorities in China reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) a cluster of viral pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei,[17] and an investigation was launched in early January 2020.[18] On 30 January, the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), after mounting evidence that the novel coronavirus had spread to 18 countries and completion of investigation in Wuhan.[19][20]

Cases

Throughout the outbreak, cases were traced to clusters that several cases had visited during a particular time period, with venues including religious institutions,[21] workplaces,[22] construction sites,[23] a number of schools,[24] private events,[25] retail businesses,[26][27][28] and a hospital.[29] Imported cases also became a source of infection in March.[30][31] From early April to late September, most new cases were at foreign worker dormitories and construction sites,[32][33] while imported cases formed the bulk of new cases from early October; as of 3 August 2021, there are a total of 54,560 dormitory residents, 5,716 cases in the community, and 5,039 imported cases.[34] 20 April 2020 saw the highest number of daily cases at 1,426,[35] while 12 May saw 20,799 active cases  the highest since the outbreak began.[36] The last date of any patient in ICU was 2 August 2021.[37] 14 August 2020 was the first time since June that there were no reported community cases,[38] while 1 October 2020 was the first time since April that the daily number of imported cases exceeded that of dormitory cases.[39] 13 October 2020 was the first time in over six months that no dormitory cases were reported,[40] with 15 June 2021 being the first time in over eleven months that no imported cases were reported.[41]

Internationally, the case fatality ratio (CFR) for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS in 2003.[42][43] The transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus powering the COVID-19 pandemic has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[44][42] However, Singapore's death rate has been one of the world's lowest, both in terms of CFR and per capita.[45][46] This may be attributed to the fact that the bulk of the cases are restricted to the migrant workers living in dormitories away from the general population.[45] These migrant workers tend to be younger,[45] with an average age of 30 years and 2 months old when surveyed in 2015, and the healthcare system was never overwhelmed.[47][48] The authorities also tested the entire dormitory population for COVID-19 infection, leading to many otherwise asymptomatic infections being picked up.[49][50] Research by the European Commission suggests that the CFR for SARS-CoV-2 virus picks up in cases 50 years of age and above.[51] The elderly in the general population in Singapore have been advised to stay at home as much as possible,[45] while resident-facing staff in old folks homes are being housed on site or separately in hotels.[52]

Other factors contributing to Singapore's exceptionally low CFR include the country's use of extensive contact tracing and testing to identify cases, mandatory mask-wearing, hospitalisation of all high-risk patients, and comparatively narrow criteria for classifying COVID-19 deaths.[53]

Prevalence studies on the population have shown that 4 in 1600 in the community, or about 0.25%, have previously been infected with COVID-19, while at least 47% of migrant workers living in dormitories have tested positive by PCR or serological tests.[54][55]

Wave 1: Imported cases from China (January 2020)

National authorities began reporting suspected cases on 4 January,[56] however the first confirmed case was reported on 23 January, a tourist from Wuhan.[57] Until 30 January, there were a total of 13 confirmed cases, all of whom were visitors to Singapore from China.[58][59] The first case involving a Singaporean was confirmed on 31 January after returning from Wuhan.[60] Contact tracing procedures were put in place to identify close contacts of the confirmed cases who were placed under 14-day quarantines to ring-fence the potential spread of the virus.[61][62]

Wave 2: Early local clusters (February to March 2020)

These imported cases eventually lead to clusters of local transmissions being formed. The first cluster was reported on 4 February at Yong Thai Hang, a shop that mainly serves Chinese tourists. It was identified as the locus of the infection where four women without recent history of travel to China contracted the virus.[63] The shop was affected when a tour group from Guangxi, China visited it along with other locations such as the Diamond Industries Jewellery Company at Harbour Drive, where another case occurred, while touring Singapore.[64] The tour group had returned to China and the Chinese authorities had confirmed that two of the group was infected.[63] Authorities then raised the nation's Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level from Yellow to Orange after more cases with unclear origins surfaced on 7 February,[65][66] with Prime Minister Lee expressing his worry about some cases with no known chain of transmission of the infection directly from Wuhan or indirectly via cases traced in Singapore. He suggested that it might become "futile to try to trace every contact".[67][68] More clusters emerged at various locations, where there were large scale gatherings such as a business conference, Chinese New Year dinner gatherings and church-related activities.[69] Two clusters were linked when several cases in each cluster was found to have infected each other through serological tests, the first such successful test in the world.[70]

Wave 3: Returning Singaporeans and permanent residents from overseas (March 2020)

In March, as the number of cases began to rise exponentially around the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) began to encourage Singaporeans to return home. Various institutes of higher learning recalled their students currently on overseas internship or exchange, and the MFA began liaising with airlines to facilitate flights to key cities when necessary during this period, to cater to demand for return flights to Singapore.[71] This led to an increase in number of imported cases, in which over 70% of cases from 16 to 19 March were Singaporeans and long-term pass holders returning from overseas.[72]

Wave 4: Spread among migrant worker population (April to May 2020)

On 7 April circuit breaker (lockdown) measures were imposed on the general population. The bulk of cases began to shift from imported cases to migrant workers living in dormitories, resulting in the authorities imposing a mandatory quarantine of 20,000 migrant workers in two dormitories gazetted as isolation areas, namely the S11 Dormitory and Westlite Toh Guan.[73] Following which, the number of cases in migrant worker dormitories began to soar as more clusters were detected in other migrant worker dormitories, reaching a single-daily high of 1,426 cases recorded amongst migrant workers on 20 April.[74] On 21 April, MOM announced that all foreign workers in dormitories were to stop work until 4 May to curb the rising spread of the coronavirus among the groups that were hit the hardest.[75] The number of daily cases amongst migrant workers living in dormitories gradually decreased but continued to remain in the hundreds until early August, with aggressive testing by the authorities.[76] April also marked a shift in policy. The government stopped automatically admitting the infected in hospitals and instead created community care facilities for those who were at low risk, which allowed hospitals to focus only on those in higher risk categories. At the peak on 12 May, there were 19,667 patients in community care facilities. This allowed hospitals to reduce bed take up related to COVID-19 from more than a thousand to several hundred in a few weeks. 18 September saw the first time since the crisis spread to work dormitories that the daily dorm case number fell into single digits.[77]

Wave 5: Community and Clusters (May 2020 to April 2021)

From May onwards, the vast majority of cases were reported in dormitories, with community cases never rising above 24 cases, which was reported on 11 July.[78] Nevertheless, while numbers in the dorms remained elevated in May, 20 April in fact represented the peak of daily cases reported among dormitory workers. By August, it was clear that the situation in dormitories was being brought under control, with new daily cases among dorm workers finally falling below 100 on 11 August. On 11 August, Ministry of Manpower announced that all dormitories had been declared cleared of COVID-19 (except for those blocks that were being used for quarantine facilities).[79] By 1 October less than 300 people were being housed in community care facilities, down from the almost 20,000 from the May peak.[80] However, it also became clear that controlling the disease was going to be extremely difficult. While total case numbers had continued to decline, unlinked community cases had begun to edge up and some dorms that had been cleared of infection were once again put on lockdown. A significant milestone was achieved on 13 October when it was announced that, for the first time since March, there were no local cases of infection. This was followed shortly by 16 October, when the number of active cases fell to less than 100  the first time since 12 March,[81][82] and by 25 November, when it was announced that there were no active clusters for the first time since the pandemic began.[83]

On 24 December, Singapore has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus variant found in the United Kingdom.[84] The variant, known as B.1.525, has the E484K spike protein mutation, which is also present in the so-called South African variant and is the key mutation found so far that could undermine the effectiveness of vaccines.

On 31 December 2020, 2 new clusters were formed out of the 5 community cases reported that day, all of whom were linked to the marine sector.[85] Two additional clusters were formed on 17 and 19 January 2021; the first was from 2 community cases linked to a para-vet working with the Singapore Police Force's K-9 unit,[86] with the second from 2 community cases linked to a worker at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing.[87] Another cluster consisting of four community cases linked to an employee at BS Industrial & Construction Supply was formed on 20 January.[88] 2 new clusters were identified on 21 and 24 April; the first was a household cluster of 3 community cases linked to a 43-year-old Indian national and work pass holder who was possibly re-infected,[89] while the second was a group of 4 community cases who were linked to a 39-year-old Indonesian sailor.[90] On 29 April, a new household cluster was formed out of 7 community cases that were linked to a 38-year-old Singaporean ICA officer working at Changi Airport, with another cluster formed out of 8 community cases linked to a 46-year-old Filipino nurse working at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.[91]

After banning short term arrivals in March, imported cases fell dramatically. However, since the beginning of July, there was a steady trickle of imported cases as the government loosened arrival requirements, with the majority of cases arriving from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. January 2021 saw a sharp spike in imported cases, of which foreign domestic workers formed the bulk due to the high demand for maids amidst the pandemic.[92]

Wave 6: Control of Variants (April 2021 to present)

On 23 April 2021, Singapore banned all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors from India, which was experiencing a second wave believed to be fuelled by a strain with a double mutation.[93] This was followed by a ban on all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on 30 April, which was later extended to all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors worldwide on 4 May. In addition, it was announced that Singapore would temporarily revert to Phase 2 from 8 to 30 May.[94] However, by then it was too late to stop the strain from entering Singapore, with the government announcing on 4 May that the variant had been detected among locally transmitted cases in the community.[95] A new cluster was formed out of 4 community cases linked to an 88-year-old cleaner working at Changi Airport's Terminal 3, who tested positive on 5 May; by 14 May it had become Singapore's largest active cluster at 59 cases, with at least 17 testing preliminarily positive for the "double mutant" variant.[96] Subsequently, MOH announced that there would be more restrictions lasting from 16 May to 13 June, following reports of increasing cases in the Changi Airport cluster and several institutes of education. Dining-in would no longer be allowed, and the maximum number of persons in a social gathering would be further reduced to two, among other restrictions.[97] MOE also announced that all Singapore primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges were to move to full home-based learning starting on 19 May.[98]

After a decline in community cases, it was announced that Singapore would re-enter "Phase 3 Heightened Alert", with re-opening to commence in two stages. The first stage would begin on 14 June with the limit on social gatherings increased to 5 people, while the next stage would begin on 21 June with the resumption of dining-in with 5 people.[99] However, a new cluster was formed at the 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Center that was linked to a 74-year old store owner who tested positive on 9 June, which resulted in a fresh surge of community cases. Consequently, the second stage of re-opening was adjusted so that only 2 persons would be allowed for dining-in.[100] With the stabilisation of community infections in early July 2021, it was announced that dining-in with groups of up to 5along with wedding receptionswould resume on 12 July; MOH also raised the possibility of more restrictions being eased from 1 August 2021, should the situation remain stable and after at least half the population has been fully-vaccinated.[101]

In addition, MOE announced on 14 June that Primary 4–6, Secondary 3–5, and junior college and Millennia Institute students would be able to return to school on 28 June, and Secondary 1–2 students on 1 July; all students from other levels would return on 6 July.[102]

On 12 July, a new cluster was formed at several KTV lounges out of 3 community cases linked to a short-term visit pass holder from Vietnam who first tested positive on 11 July, leading to another massive surge in cases.[103][104] The KTV lounges were subsequently put under investigation for possibly deliberately breaching COVID-19 safety measures;[105] at least 20 women were arrested, with 3 former nightlife outlets having their F&B licenses revoked.[106][107] In response, MOH announced that all nightlife-turned-F&B establishments would be suspended from 16 to 30 July, during which all staff would undergo testing. Dining-in would also revert back to groups of 2 from 19 July to 8 August, though fully-vaccinated people would be allowed to continue dining-in in groups of 5.[108] Another new cluster that contributed to the surge was formed on 16 July out of 7 community cases at Jurong Fishery Port;[109] Health Minister Ong Ye Kung later confirmed that the two clusters were linked.[110] In the wake of the rapidly increasing number of cases, it was announced on 20 July that Singapore would return to "Phase 2 Heightened Alert" from 22 July to 18 August. Dining-in was banned once more with the limit on social gatherings reduced to 2, though gyms were not shut this time round.[111]

Cautious reopening

The authorities took cautious measures as the economy began to reopen to more regular outside travellers in August. Travellers who did not quarantine in a dedicated facility would have to wear an electronic tag throughout the 14-day period.[112] Singapore also implemented a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) with Malaysia, allowing limited travel between the two countries. Later in the month, arrivals from certain countries had their 14-day quarantine reduced to 7 days; those arriving from Brunei and New Zealand who were tested negative upon arrival would be allowed in without any quarantine.[113] On 30 September 2020, the Singapore government announced that the country will lift border restrictions for some visitors from Australia, excluding Victoria state, and Vietnam, beginning from 8 October 2020;[114] restrictions for Victoria state and mainland China were lifted on 6 November.[115] In October 2020, then-Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung suggested that Singapore would be looking to open travel bubbles with various countries such as those with similar risk profiles, but also for those countries from higher risk locations.[116] One such travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong was to have started on 22 November, but had to be postponed to 2021 due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.[117]

Domestic impact

To stop the spread of COVID-19, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 and its Control Order Regulations 2020[118] was brought into force. These rules banned gatherings and led some to be charged in court,[119] fined or even jailed for offences related to these laws.[120][121] A number of people who were on work passes have had their passes revoked and have also been permanently banned from working in Singapore.[122]

Economic impact

The ongoing pandemic is likely to have a significant impact on the local economy. On 17 February 2020, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) downgraded Singapore's forecast GDP growth to between −0.5% and 1.5%.[123] This is largely due to the fall in tourism and social distancing restrictions.[123] On 26 March, MTI said it believed that the economy would contract by between 1% and 4% in 2020. This was after the economy shrank some 2.2% in the first quarter of 2020 from the same quarter in 2019.[124] On 26 May, the Singapore economy contracted 0.7%YoY, which was better than the expected contraction of 2.2%. However, MTI said that it was revising down its expectation for the Singapore economy in 2020 to shrink by 4% to 7%.[125] Economists were behind the curve in downgrading their numbers. The IMF for example, predicted in October 2019 that growth in 2020 would be 1%, but as a result of COVID-19, had changed their expectation in October 2020 to a contraction of 6%.[126][127] Other institutions initially expected the economy to expand but had to revise their numbers.[128]

On 2 April 2020, the rating's agency Moody's downgraded the Singapore banking sector from "stable" outlook to a "negative" outlook on the back of rising bad loans and deteriorating profitability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[129] It was estimated by the economist Chua Hak Bin, the lockdown "circuit breaker" beginning on 7 April could impact the economy to the tune of S$10 billion.[130] With the lockdown imposed on foreign workers, there were concerns that there could be delays in construction work of up to six months.[131] Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat announced that some 3,800 companies had closed in April 2020, only slightly higher than the 3,700 reported on average for the same month in the past 5 years. Though he warned that this would likely rise in the coming months. Despite this only small increase in companies shutting down, the number of companies starting up had declined by about a third from the average April since 2015.[132]

On 6 April 2020, it was announced in Parliament that Changi Airport Terminal 2 would be suspended from 1 May 2020 for 18 months due to the ongoing pandemic.[133] Terminal 4 would later be suspended on 16 May indefinitely as well, with the aim to restart operations when travel demand returns.[134] The suspension of Terminal 2 would also allow the ongoing expansion work which was announced in January 2020 to be completed up to a year ahead of schedule in 2023 instead of 2024.[135] The airlines which were operating from these two terminals were largely consolidated into the remaining Terminals 1 and 3, with some airlines remained suspended until further notice.[136]

In November 2020, the MTI announced Singapore's economy contracted 5.8% in the third quarter from the same period in 2019. It also expected the economy to shrink contract by between 6% and 6.5% in 2020, though in 2021 it expected an expansion of between 4% and 6% next year.[137]

Employment

Data released by the Ministry of Manpower showed that total employment contracted by 57,000 in 2020, which was the biggest drop since SARS in 2003.[138] Foreign workers were vulnerable to being let go during the crisis as support measures such as the Jobs Support Scheme were primarily targeted as subsidising the wages of local staff not all employees. There were some 22,200 fewer foreign employees (excluding domestic workers) between December 2019 and March 2020.[139] Ministry of Manpower reported that unemployment in the first quarter of 2020 rose to 2.4 per cent from 2.3 per cent the quarter previously, the highest in a decade, while among Singaporeans it rose from 3.3 per cent to 3.5 per cent.[140]

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, various companies like Resorts World Sentosa reduced a significant amount of its workforce.[141][142]

Local firms had to take aggressive action to deal with effects of the pandemic. For example, on 10 September 2020, Singapore Airlines announced that it would cut around 4,300 positions across its group.[143] On 15 September 2020, United Overseas Bank announced that it was limiting hiring.[144]

Inflation

The overall inflation dropped to 0.3% in February 2020 on a year-by-year basis. Core inflation, which excludes the costs of accommodation and private road transport, dropped to −0.1%, the first time this decade that core inflation turned negative. This was also due to supply chains being disrupted due to COVID-19.[145]

Stocks

On 9 March 2020, the Straits Times Index fell 6.03% owing to the impact of COVID-19, made worse by the oil price war.[146] The Index dropped again three days later by 3.8% after more measures are announced with the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic.[147]

Monetary policy

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) brought forward its twice year meeting from some time in April to 30 March 2020.[148] The MAS has since decided to ease the Singapore dollar's appreciation rate to zero per cent, as well as adjust the policy band downwards, the first such move since the Global Financial Crisis. This makes it the first time the MAS had taken these two measures together.[149] Unusually, on 6 April, the central bank also announced that it would bring forward its disclosure of foreign exchange intervention to 9 April. It was previously scheduled to be published in June.[150] In September, Citi argued that a downward re-centring for the MAS SGD NEER in October 2020 could still take place.[151]

Tourism

As one of the countries highly affected by the pandemic, tourism in Singapore has fallen, with the Singapore Tourism Board experiencing its largest drop in visitor arrivals from the previous year.[152] Several countries have imposed travel restrictions on Singapore.[153] Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong encouraged Singaporeans to go on a local 'staycation' to mitigate the fall in demand for tourism, but this was not possible during the circuit breaker from 7 April 2020 to 1 June 2020.[154] Retail industry was also affected by the pandemic, though it has been steadily recovering since the transition to phase 3.[155]

On 15 December 2020, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing announced a new initiative, Connect@Singapore. It is part of Singapore's efforts to re-open its borders in a controlled and safe manner and facilitates essential global business exchanges and support the revival of Singapore's air hub status and hospitality sector.[156][157]

On 8 May 2021, the UK announced that it would allow people in England to resume international travel from 17 May, but would limit the number of destinations open for quarantine-free holidays to just a handful of countries as it cautiously eases lockdown restrictions. Singapore is among a few countries which made the green list for travel in a system that will be reviewed every three weeks.[158]

Air Travel Bubbles (ATB)

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, even as nations shut their borders and airlines struggled with record-low passenger levels, there was a lot of optimism about “travel bubbles” — a controlled return of quarantine-free air travel between designated cities or countries. Since then, with few countries’ outbreaks truly under control, there has been far more chatter about potential travel bubbles than there have been actual bubbles implemented.

With New Zealand and Brunei

On 1 September 2020, applications for "green lane" travel bubbles for travellers from New Zealand and Brunei were opened. Visitors from those 2 countries would be required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival at Changi Airport and self-isolate until they received a negative test result, but otherwise did not have to stay in quarantine upon arrival in Singapore. This was provided they have remained in the country for the last consecutive 14 days prior to their visit to Singapore.[159][160]

On 20 May 2021, Brunei announced that it would be suspending its "green lane" travel bubble with Singapore until further notice.[161]

With Hong Kong

On 11 November 2020, Hong Kong and Singapore have agreed to launch a travel bubble to restart tourism without needing to quarantine at the other end.[162] It was hoped that having a quarantine-free travel would boost tourism and business between the two Asian hubs cities, though anyone travelling between the two cities will have to undergo a compulsory COVID-19 test before they flew.[163] The travel bubble was scheduled to start on 22 November 2020. However, the day before the launch, both cities announced that it would be deferred by two weeks until early December. This was due to a sudden spike in new infections in Hong Kong.[164][165][166] On 1 December, the launch date was deferred again to beyond December 2020. This showed the complexities involved in opening up, even between countries which had coronavirus infections under control. On 29 March 2021, Singapore resumed discussions with Hong Kong after the latter city experienced a significant decline in its daily local COVID-19 cases.[167] On 26 April, both Singapore and Hong Kong confirmed that the air travel bubble would officially re-launch on 26 May.[168][169] However, after a spike in local infections triggered fresh restrictions in Singapore in late April, Singapore's government stated on 6 May that it would assess any potential changes to the travel bubble.[170] While Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau Tang-wah, initially assured on 12 May that the travel bubble would launch as scheduled,[171] it was later announced on 17 May that the travel bubble would once again be put on hold. A new launch date would be reviewed near the end of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), which lasts until 13 June.[172]

With Taiwan

On 18 March 2021, Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung announced that Singapore and Taiwan were in talks about possible air travel bubble between the 2 countries.[173][174] Singapore's Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung stated on 26 April that a proposal was submitted to Taiwan to establish an air travel bubble along with a proposal to mutually recognise vaccination certificates, during a press conference to announce a new date for the start of Singapore's air travel bubble with Hong Kong.[175] However, the possibility of the travel bubble faded on 6 May, when Singapore banned all short-term visitors from Taiwan following a surge in new local infections in the latter country.[176][177]

With Australia

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced on 14 March 2021 that Australia was working with Singapore about establishing a potential travel bubble in July, which was confirmed by Singapore the same day.[178][179][180] However, hopes for a travel bubble between Singapore and Australia were dealt another blow as Singapore tightened restrictions on its citizens and on incoming travellers, as it confronted its first significant cluster of COVID-19 cases in months.[181]

Events

Due to the 2019 Hong Kong protests, many conferences and exhibitions were transferred to Singapore.[182][183] However, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, many events were postponed, cancelled or switched virtually.

70 exhibitors of the Singapore Airshow 2020, including US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and South Korea's Black Eagles decided to pull out over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.[184][185][186][187]

The Global Grain Conference in Singapore was also cancelled.[188]

Mediacorp postponed its Star Awards ceremony to 2021 and held it at the Jewel Changi Airport due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[189]

Launched in 2002, the Shangri-La Dialogue defence summit, which had been held every year in Singapore, was cancelled for second year running in 2020 and 2021.[190][191]

The 2020 HSBC Women's World Championship, a women's golf tournament initially scheduled from 27 February to 1 March, was cancelled.[192][193]

The 12th session of Pink Dot SG (which was scheduled to be held on 27 June at Hong Lim Park) was replaced by a livestreaming session.[194]

Singer Miriam Yeung postponed a concert that was initially scheduled on 8 February 2020. It was initially rescheduled to 30 January 2021 – amid the government's safe re-opening measures – and was eventually cancelled.[195] More concerts followed suit, including K-pop concerts by Taeyeon, NCT Group,[196] Got7 (initially scheduled on 22 February),[197] Stage Club play,[198] Welsh singer Novo Amor (postponed to July),[199] 98 Degrees (initially scheduled on 20 February),[200] and First Fleet (a Mandarin play initially from 14 to 23 February, rescheduled to March 2021).[201] K-pop band Winner cancelled its concert, which was scheduled to be held on 8 February. Several Huayi events in Esplanade were cancelled due to travel restrictions.[198]

On 12 June 2020, it was announced that the Singapore Grand Prix, due to be held on 20 September 2020, would be cancelled.[202] Organisers of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown had announced on 5 November 2020 that there will be no fireworks display and countdown at Marina Bay, instead, light shows will be held instead together with heartland fireworks and that the event would be streamed online and on television by Mediacorp.[203]

On 7 December 2020, organisers of the annual World Economic Forum event announced that they have decided to hold its 2021 annual meeting in Singapore, from 25 to 28 May, instead of its traditional home of Switzerland, which is battling a rising number of coronavirus infections.[204][205] On 3 February 2021, the organisers postponed the annual meeting to 17–20 August due to pandemic-related challenges.[206] It was eventually cancelled on 17 May, with the World Economic Forum's (WEF) citing global uncertainties caused by COVID-19 as the reason. It was added that the next annual meeting will take place in the first half of 2022, with the final location and date to be decided later.[207]

On 4 May 2021, the President's Office announced that the Istana Open House on 13 May would be cancelled.[208] While it was initially announced that it would reopen on 1 August,[209] it was later decided that the event would be postponed to a later date, in the wake of the rise of community cases in July.[210]

On 30 June 2021, Minister of Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen announced that the annual National Day Parade at The Float @ Marina Bay would proceed as planned.[211] Following the return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), MINDEF stated that it would be postponed to 21 August, with a ceremonial parade held on 9 August.[212]

Societal impact

Local shopping

The retail industry has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, together with food industry. Foot traffic at shopping malls were dropped,[213] with some shops choosing to shorten their opening hours or face massive closures like Esprit Holdings, Isetan Westgate, Liang Court, I12 Katong, H&M Tampines Mall, Topshop, Robinsons and Hotwind.[214] Tenants are pushing landlords for rental rebates, citing significant drops in revenue.[215]

Several malls and landlords including Jewel Changi Airport and CapitaLand have implemented rental rebates.[216][217] The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also implemented rent waivers and rebates for all stallholders in hawker centres operated by NEA or NEA-appointed operators.[218]

According to CapitaLand in February 2020, foot traffic at malls were almost back to normal,[213] before being reduced in late-March to early-April 2020 due to social distancing restrictions and circuit breaker measures.[219] Retail sales fell during the COVID-19 pandemic from March to June, citing circuit breaker as a reason. The April and May figure was the worst since records began in 1986. However, retail sales reinstated gradually in July, August and September but the process was interrupted by public places visited by cases in the community. Foot traffic will again resume back to normal fully once Singapore moves to Phase 3. Retail sales and foot traffic again fell during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from 3 May 2021 to 14 June 2021.[220]

In response to the government's lockdown measures, Suntec City announced that it would waive rent for all tenants for the month of April, May and June.[221]

In addition, the Great Singapore Sale was moved online, called e-GSS.[222]

Panic buying and price gouging

Panic buying and price gouging of personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as masks began with the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Singapore on 23 January 2020.[57] By 24 January, both N95 and surgical masks had run out at retail outlets.[223] This has prompted local retailers including NTUC FairPrice, Watsons and Guardian to originally impose limits, but had a surge in demand.[224] Many areas have began wearing of masks; but on 1 April, the number of people wearing masks have grown up to 93%, with masks made mandatory by the government on 14 April. In addition, mask wearing continues to remain until 29 March 2022, and any easing will be done slowly.[225][226]

The shortage of masks and other PPEs has caused many retailers to engage in profiteering by price gouging and scalping.[227] This included both local brick-and-mortar stores as well as retailers on ecommerce platforms.[227][228] The government has applauded platforms Carousell and Qoo10 for threatening to suspend profiteers.[228] The governmental price controller has also issued warnings to retailers who engage in price gouging and requested information from e-commerce platforms on potential profiteers.[227][229][230]

Panic buying and hoarding of essentials such as rice, instant noodles and toilet paper occurred with the raising of the DORSCON level from yellow to orange on 7 February 2020, with empty shelves at supermarkets within hours.[231][232][233] Local supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice imposed limits on the amount of essentials each consumer can buy, with these limits initially set for paper products, rice products, instant noodle packets and vegetables.[234] NTUC FairPrice and Dairy Farm Singapore announced that it would introduce specific hours for those members of the community who were more vulnerable such as Pioneer Generation members. Following the review, supermarkets are considered essential services, therefore there is no need to hoard items, it must be opened everyday.[235]

A second wave of panic buying and hoarding occurred on 17 March when Malaysia announced its lockdown from 18 March, sparked by fears of food shortages. The government has clarified that the flow of goods, cargo and food supplies between Singapore and Malaysia will continue, urging the public not to panic buy. They added that Singapore has diverse sources of essential goods and was not facing an immediate shortage of food or essentials.[236] NTUC FairPrice has expanded its list of items that are limited per consumer to include eggs, vegetables and poultry.[237] 10 days later, NTUC FairPrice expanded its list to include canned food, cooking oil and frozen meat, with reduced purchasing limits for paper products.[238]

To deal with the massive increase in online shopping orders, RedMart on 2 April said that it would prioritise daily essentials such as milk powder, flour, eggs and rice while limiting orders to 35 items and reducing its range of goods to focus on the essentials. It also said that it would stop taking orders until 4 April to implement additional measures.[239]

Ahead of tighter measures on 7 April, shoppers queued at shopping malls despite government requests for people to remain at home.[240]

Egg distributors were reporting in June that they now had an oversupply of eggs and were throwing away supplies or culling laying stock.[241]

Religious services and weddings

Even when DORSCON was raised to Orange on 7 February, several religious events still took place. One of them was the Thaipusam procession, which took several precautions like temperature taking and the provision of hand sanitizers and masks to assure devotees.[242] The event ended up attracting 11,500 people, the highest turnout since 2013.[243] Another was the Lantern Festival event in Loyang, which attracted half the usual turnout to about 3,000 people.[244]

As some of the first cases were found in Christian gatherings at Life Church and Mission and Grace Assembly of God, connected to Chinese New Year celebrations,[70] Singaporean churches tended to be quick to respond to government advisory and suspend in-person church activities and move things online. Some churches, such as New Creation Church already had a fairly sophisticated digital presence and could easily stream services online. Protestant churches also had divided positions as to whether or not to permit online communion.[245] The Catholic Church in Singapore announced that it was suspending masses indefinitely from noon of 15 February.[246] They were set to resume on 14 March,[247] but continue to be indefinitely suspended in light of the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic.[248]

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore has asked Muslims to take precautions to maintain personal hygiene while the Singapore Buddhist Federation advised temples to cancel activities.[249] Some churches have opted to suspend services, live streaming them instead. Religious institutions have stepped up disinfection procedures.[249]

On 12 March, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore announced the closure of all mosques for five days from 13 March for disinfection, coming after two people were infected from a gathering in Malaysia. Prayers were cancelled on 13 March, with activities stopped until 27 March.[250] The closure of mosques is extended until further notice.[251]

Hindu Temples and Sikh Temples also recorded a drop in the attendance. Hindu temples in Singapore have stepped up precautionary measures such as checking temperature of the visitors. Some Hindu temples have put measures to provide live streaming of puja for devotees. Some Sikh Temples had to suspend their langar services. However, five private temple were providing langar on a smaller scale. Most processions were also cancelled.[252]

Wedding ceremonies were also adversely affected by COVID-19. During the circuit-breaker period, all wedding ceremonies were suspended. This only resumed in phase 1 in a very controlled manner with weddings only able to be done in person at the Registry of Marriages, or at home with no more than 10 persons present. This number was increased to 50 persons in phase 2, and 100 in phase 3; on 24 March, MOH announced that the limit would be further increased from 100 to 250 for solemnisations and receptions from 24 April onwards, with pre-event testing in place.[253]

Transportation

Taxi and private hire vehicles were hit by the impact of COVID-19. A S$77 million package was provided to help them tide through this period, co-funded by the Government, taxi and private-hire companies. In addition, a S$2.7 million fund was set up by the Government and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) for drivers who are not eligible.[254] In view of the worsening coronavirus impact, the package will be enhanced from May 2020, extending until September 2020. This will cost an additional $95 million.[255] On 6 April, directors of the ComfortDelGro Group (ComfortDelGro, SBS Transit and VICOM) announced its board of directors would take a voluntary 20 per cent cut in directors' fees until the end of 2020.[256]

Various banks have suggested that Singapore Airlines will have a loss in FY21, with OCBC credit analysts Ezien Hoo and Wong Hong Wei arguing that the airline will have to tap the markets for more funds and possibly even need state support.[257]

Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot have announced plans to slash their capacity. Singapore Airlines slashed nearly all of the capacity until August. The news resulted in STI crashing down by 164.63 (6.83%). Scoot will ground 47 out of the 49 planes they have in their fleet.[258] It was reported on 27 March 2020, SIA received a rescue package of S$19 billion to get over the difficult period.[259] Its major shareholder Temasek Holdings will underwrite the package which contains S$5.3 billion equity and S$9.7 billion convertible note.[259] Singapore's biggest bank DBS will also lend it S$4 billion to help it get over the crisis and position itself for expansion.[259] With the significant reduction in flights, Singapore Airlines agreed to provide some 300 staff to help with possible manpower shortages at hospitals in Singapore and provided some staff to deal with transport ambassadors.[260] It was announced that the airline would consolidate all their Changi Airport operations from 1 May 2020 to Terminal 3.[261] On 14 May 2020, Singapore Airlines announced a full year loss for Financial Year 2019/2020 of S$212 million, this was the first loss in its 48 years of operation.[262][263] On 1 September 2020, Singapore Airlines have announced to reinstate several destinations that have opened up travel such as Bandar Seri Begawan, Auckland, Christchurch, Taipei, Hong Kong, Macau, Hanoi, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. For airlines, regulations for social distancing are not applicable to save costs. Mask wearing continues to be mandatory and airlines will upgrade their apps to include contact tracing. Overnight flights will also be re-introduced which allows even quieter rides.[264] On 25 June Jetstar Asia Airways announced that it was cutting up to 180 people, almost a quarter of the workforce in Singapore. At the same time they would allow the retirement of five of their A320 fleet, bringing the total down to 13.[265]

The Land Transport Authority announced that all certificate of entitlement (COE) bidding for the month of April would be suspended.[266]

Transport services were gradually reduced in stages. Last train timings were brought forward to early, and transport frequencies were remained to allow safe distancing. Measures also involve imposition of queuing at station exit points. Cross-border bus services 160 and 170 were amended to serve only local sectors of its route, while Cross-border services 170X and 950 were suspended in lieu of Malaysia's Movement Control Order.[267] All City Direct, Chinatown Direct, NightRider, NiteOwl and Express bus services were temporarily suspended in tranches from 8 April 2020 until 1 June 2020, with the exception of Express 89e which was reinstated on 24 April 2020 to better serve essential workers at the Changi Airfreight Centre, and all bus services resumed on 2 June 2020 with the exception of services 188R, 401, 926, 963R, Chinatown Direct and all night services; the latter is due to low demand. Train and bus services are no longer extended except for New Year's Eve whereby last train departs City Hall at 1.15 am.[268][269]

The quarantine and testing of all foreign workers in dormitories has caused delays in the construction of various MRT projects, including the delay of the Thomson–East Coast line's Stage 2 opening on 28 August 2021, after a few extensions. The LTA has been yet to fully assess the length of delays on the other stages of the line and of other MRT projects.[270]

Scams

Several parties have engaged in scams related to the pandemic. For instance, scammers have pretended to be MOH officials engaging in contact tracing.[271] The MOH and police clarified that no financial details or transfer of money will be requested during contact tracing.[272] The police have also arrested scammers on e-commerce platform Carousell.[273] On 4 April, SPF announced that they had arrested a man for suspected money-laundering offences in relation to a COVID-19 linked scam which saw an overseas pharmaceutical company defrauded to the tune of €6.636 million (S$10.3 million) over the purchase of surgical masks and hand sanitisers.[274] The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and SPF were investigating possible abuses of the COVID-19 Temporary Relief Fund (TRF), which is supposed to provide financial assistance to those eligible.[275] There were cases of scammers impersonating the Chinese police force asking for many personal details. A total of 394 COVID-19-related scams occurred between January and April, with losses totalling S$1.4 million.[276] There have also been false rumours of National Environment Agency and police officers actively checking residential units to ensure that people were complying with circuit breaker rules.[277]

Vaccination

The Singapore Government invested more than one billion Singapore dollars to sign advanced purchase agreements and made early down payments on promising vaccine candidates, such as Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and CoronaVac.[278]

On 14 December 2020, Singapore became the first Asian country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine.[279] The first shipment of the vaccine arrived 7 days later on 21 December .[280][281]

Singapore also received its first shipment of China's Sinovac vaccine, on 22 December 2020. However, the vaccine was not authorised for use by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).[282][283] On 2 June 2021, MOH approved the Sinovac vaccine for used in private healthcare settings so people, who are not suitable to take the mRNA vaccines, can take the Sinovac vaccine. However, since the China-made vaccine is not part of the national programme, those who choose to receive it will not be eligible for the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP) should they develop any adverse reactions.[284][285][286]

On 30 December 2020, Singapore became the first country in Asia to start its COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The vaccine is free for all Singaporeans and long-term residents. Health workers, other frontline workers and seniors were the first inoculated with the vaccine jointly developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.[287]

On 3 February 2021, Singapore also became the first country in Asia to approve Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, jointly developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and Moderna.[288]

On 18 May, the Health Ministry announced that those who register for COVID-19 vaccination from 19 May onwards will have their second dose scheduled six to eight weeks after the first, instead of three to four weeks later.[289] This change in strategy was aimed to have 400,000 more people in Singapore to be given at least one vaccine dose by end-July so that virtually all eligible Singapore residents will get at least one dose by early August.[290][291] However, as vaccine supplies continue to arrive as planned and most of the population who are willing to take the vaccine will have received their first dose by the second half of July, MOH announced on 29 June that the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would revert to four weeks. This was part of the efforts to ensure that more of the population will be fully vaccinated earlier.[292][293] On 9 July, it was announced that the interval between doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be further shortened to 3 weeks.[294]

On 18 May, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) also approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12 to 15; previously, it was given only to those aged 16 years and above. It was granted interim authorization by the HSA under the Pandemic Special Access Route in December 2020.[291][295][296]

On 24 June, the Health Ministry concluded a purchase agreement with Novavax for its non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, with shipments expected to arrive in Singapore before the end of 2021.[297]

On 28 July, IHH Healthcare Singapore obtained approval to import Sinopharm's BBIBP-CorV vaccine via the special access route (SAR).[298] The SAR was set up on 31 May to allow individuals to choose vaccines not under the national inoculation program.[299]

International relations

Stranded Malaysia-based workers

On 16 March, the Malaysian government announced a movement control order (MCO) that took effect on 18 March, preventing Malaysians from leaving the country.[300] With approximately 300,000 Malaysians, or almost a tenth of Singapore's labour force working in Singapore, the MCO would have been expected to significantly affect Singapore's economy, including sectors providing essential services.[301]

The MCO caused long queues at immigration checkpoints as Malaysian workers in Singapore scrambled to collect their belongings and return to Singapore, while Singaporeans returned home.[302] Various firms across Singapore rushed to find temporary accommodation for their workers before the MCO took effect.[303] The Singapore government advised workers to try to stay with relatives, friends, and colleagues, and seek housing in hotels, dormitories and rental flats if this was not possible.[304] The government also provided $50 for each worker per day, up to 14 days to support employers finding accommodation.[305] As of 17 March, the government announced that 10,000 Malaysian workers had been matched with temporary housing.[305] Some workers could not immediately find accommodations and resorted to sleeping in public areas.[306] In response, Ministry of Social and Family Development repurposed Jurong East Sports Hall into a temporary relief area for remaining Malaysian workers who were unable to find temporary accommodations immediately after the MCO took effect, while the Ministry of Manpower stepped up patrols to look out for such stranded workers.[307] A number of residents also stepped up to offer their spare rooms to accommodate Malaysian workers at little to no cost.[308]

The MCO resulted in suspension of all bus services between Johor Bahru and Singapore.[267] While the KTMB Shuttle Tebrau train service continues to operate between the two checkpoints, only citizens returning to their respective countries are allowed to board.[309] The lockdown also sparked fears of food shortages, triggering a second wave of panic buying and hoarding of essential items. On 26 April, Malaysia announced that Malaysians wanting to return to Malaysia will need to obtain permits from the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore. However, only 400 of such permits will be issued daily.[310]

Border controls and operations

Singapore began to restrict travellers from entering from 29 January in a progressive manner as a response to localised outbreaks. Travelers from Hubei were banned from entering Singapore on 29 January with all forms of visas held by Hubei residents being suspended immediately on the same day.[311] Any traveller who had travelled to mainland China 14 days prior to 1 February was also banned from entering Singapore. Chinese passport holders were allowed entry on the condition they can prove they did not visit China recently. At the same time, on 1 February, all forms of visas for Chinese travellers were suspended immediately.[312] When there was a large increase in the number of cases in Cheongdo and Daegu, South Korea, visitors arriving from these two areas were restricted from entering Singapore, as well, from 26 February.[313] By March, visitors arriving from other territories or countries, such as, South Korea, Iran, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany were banned.[314][315] Port calls for all cruise vessels were stopped from 13 March as well.[316][317]

One of the earliest recorded travel advisory on travelling to or from Singapore issued by other countries, was United Kingdom, on 24 January 2020. It encouraged its subjects to self-isolate and quarantine after returning from Singapore.[318] Other countries such as Britain, Indonesia, Indonesia soon began to issue their own travel advisories, with language generally advising their citizens to avoid unnecessary or non-essential travel to Singapore. By 20 March 2020, there were at least 14 countries with travel advisories against Singapore, either specifically or as part of a general travel restriction on their citizens.[318] As the number countries with travel advisories rapidly expanded, the travel restrictions have been broadly categorised into:[319]

  1. Deny entry – where countries would deny entry to travellers who have been in or transiting through Singapore in the last 14 days;
  2. Allow entry, subjected to self-isolation/quarantine – where countries would allow entry, but subject travellers to either 14-day self-isolation or quarantine regime;
  3. Allow entry upon medical screening clearance – where countries would allow unrestricted entry after clearing required medical screenings such as temperature checks and/or swab tests.

From 17 March, Singapore required all visitors who had travelled 14 days prior to ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom to be served with a 14-day Stay Home Notice, with ASEAN travellers required to seek approval before entering Singapore. However, this requirement was waived for Singapore's sea and land crossings with Malaysia as it was deemed too disruptive to the 200,000 people who use the crossings on a daily basis.[320][321] This exemption was short-lived as the Malaysian government would soon implement a movement control order that would take effect from 18 March, preventing Malaysians from leaving and most foreigners from entering the country.[300] Singapore authorities and businesses quickly made arrangements to secure alternate living accommodations in Singapore for workers living in Malaysia.[322][323][324] Both Singapore and Malaysia authorities quickly worked to ensure that the essential goods could still cross the two land checkpoints,[325] with further fine-tuning of transportation arrangement being subsequently conducted as there were still confusion by some of the supplying companies in Malaysia.[326][327]

Singapore banned all short-term visitors arriving or transiting through Singapore from 23 March onwards, with only people in essential services like healthcare and transport allowed entry during this time.[328]

Due to the reduced number of flights, Singapore Changi Airport suspended operations at Terminals 2 and 4 in April and May 2020 respectively. The suspension of Terminal 2 would also bring forward the renovation plans that the airport has for it, while Terminal 4 would remain suspended indefinitely until the demand for flights picks up and airlines seek to relaunch flights.[329][134] Malaysia would also shorten the operating hours of Sultan Iskandar Building at the Johor Causeway to 12 hours daily from 24 April, effectively limiting the Causeway's operating hours.[330] The Second Link crossing would remain open round the clock.[330]

On 28 June, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Muhyiddin Yassin agreed that their governments will work together to establish a Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) allowing residents from both nations who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to periodically return to their home countries for short-term home leave.[331]

On 14 July, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein announced that cross-border travel and traffic between the two countries would resume on 10 August 2020 under two schemes: the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA). The RGL scheme will allow essential business and official travel between the two countries while the PCA scheme will allow Singaporean and Malaysian residents who hold long-term immigration business and work passes to enter for work purposes.[332][333]

Cruises were restarted in November but did not have any other port of call other than Singapore. In early December, an 83-year-old man tested positive on board and the ship had to return to Singapore a day early. Subsequent retests of the sample and additional samples proved the original test to be a false positive.[334]

On 30 January 2021, the Singaporean Government suspended "travel bubble" arrangements with Malaysia, Germany and South Korea in response to a spike in cases globally and the emergence of new variants.[335]

On 23 March 2021, The Singaporean and Malaysian Foreign Ministers Balakrishnan and Hussein have confirmed that the two governments had plans to recognise each other's COVID-19 vaccine certificates with the goal of restoring cross-border travel in the near-future.[336]

On 24 April 2021, Singapore banned all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors, with recent travel history to India within the last 14 days, from entering. It was due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in India and more virus strains being discovered.[337]

On 17 May 2021, in the wake of increased COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, all Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders with recent travel history to Taiwan was served a 21-day stay-home notice.[338]

Repatriation efforts

As the pandemic spread throughout the world, the Singapore government had organised several repatriation efforts to bring Singaporeans back from various overseas locations. Beginning with Wuhan, Hubei where the virus was first detected, a number of Singaporeans were trapped in Wuhan as the Chinese authorities had locked down the entire Hubei province, thus suspending air links between the city and Singapore.[339] Liaising with counterparts in the Chinese government and its embassy in Beijing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore (MFA) managed to bring back 266 Singaporeans and family members on two separate Scoot flights on 30 January and 9 February.[340] MFA and other governmental agencies subsequently brought back at least 1,000[lower-alpha 1] Singaporeans, permanent residents, and family members stranded at other locations where there were similar lockdowns and suspension of flights: Cambodia,[341] Egypt,[342] Fiji,[343] India,[344] Iran,[345] Nepal,[346] Saudi Arabia,[347] Slovenia,[348] and the UK.[349][350] Most of the evacuees were brought back on direct flights,[341][342][344][347][349] whilst some in Fiji, Iran, Nepal, and Slovenia saw some assistance from other countries.[343][345][346][348] All evacuees had to serve a 14-day Stay Home Notice or be quarantined[351] at designated locations, such as hotels with cost borne by the government,[352][353][354] government quarantine faculties, or at home.

With flights to Wuhan suspended due to the Hubei lockdown, Scoot had offered two one-way flights back to Wuhan for tourists stuck in Singapore.[355] As the travel restrictions began to grow and accumulated into an ongoing ban on short-term visitors arriving or transiting through Singapore started from 23 March,[328] Singapore has allowed visitors to transit through Singapore if they are being repatriated by various governments.[356] India had repatriated some of its citizens from Singapore in May 2020 on two separate flights.[357][358] In the same flight which Singapore Airlines brought back Singaporeans from Cambodia on 12 April, it also carried Australians heading back to Australia with Singapore being a transit point.[341] It was reported that Singapore and Bangladesh were in discussions to repatriate their respective citizens if necessary.[359]

Assistance to other countries

Both the Singapore government and private sector sent support packages to Indonesia, including test kits and personal protective equipment.[360][361] The Singapore government sent swabs and other supplies to Malaysia to help with sample collection and testing.[362] Temasek Foundation donated 30,000 test kits to India and this was affirmed and thanked by High Commissioner of India to Singapore, Jawed Ashraf.[363] Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet operated flights carrying the test kits and other medical equipment from Singapore to both Bangalore and Chennai.[364][365]

In December 2020, Singapore pledged US$5 million towards COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX), a WHO-led global initiative aimed at securing COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries.[366] Together with Switzerland, Singapore co-chairs "Friends of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility", which comprises the European Union and the following 14 nations: Australia, Canada, Iceland, Israel, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.[367]

On 26 April 2021, the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and Little India Shopkeepers Association (LISHA) initiated and launched a relief fund to raise money and support India in its fight against COVID-19.[368]

Economic measures

With the impact of COVID-19 becoming greater, it was becoming clear to analysts that Singapore would need to respond with large scale government spending.[369] As of 26 May, Singapore has unveiled four Budgets that will spend 19.2% of GDP to ensure the impact on the economy is softened and to help the economy recover back to the original state.[370] Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has said that based on economic terms, the economic contraction will be the worst ever since Singapore's independence.[371] The government announced on 4 June that they would be keeping Central Provident Fund contribution rates unchanged as they believed the Jobs Support Scheme would help reduce the burden on employers.[372]

First stimulus package – "Unity Budget"

It was announced on 1 February that the Government will provide help for the transport and tourism sectors as part of the 2020 Budget, being the worst-hit industries by the impact of COVID-19.[373][374] In the 2020 Budget delivered on 18 February, the Government has set aside S$6.4 billion in support funds,[375] which are a S$1.6 billion Care and Support Package for household expenses,[376] a S$4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package for businesses and workers[377] and an additional S$800 million for efforts including the healthcare sector. In addition, the Goods and Services Tax will not be raised by 9% in 2021 owing to the economic impact, with a S$6 billion Assurance Package should it be raised by 2025.[378]

Second stimulus package – "Resilience Budget"

Less than a month after the first budget support package was introduced, it was announced that the government was working a second stimulus package to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the economy.[379] The package was delivered in a Ministerial Statement by DPM Heng Swee Keat on 26 March, known as the Resilience Budget.[380] COVID-19 has hit the economy so hard that President Halimah had given her 'in-principle support' to draw on past reserves for this second package, which will amount to S$17 billion.[381] In addition to S$6.4 billion announced in the first package, the government is prepared to spend a further S$48.4 billion to support businesses, workers and families, amounting to around 11% of GDP.[382]

Among the measures include increasing government co-funding of 25% of wages for all local workers, with those in food services getting 50% support and those in the tourism and aviation sector getting up to 75% support. Self-employed workers would receive S$1,000 per month. These measures would last for nine months.[383][384]

A$350 million aviation support package was introduced to fund the measures such as rebates on waiving off parking charges.[385]

In spite of this large spending package, several private sector economists were still expecting the economy to contract in 2020.[386]

Third stimulus package – "Solidarity Budget"

It was announced on 5 April that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat would propose a third round of support measures through a "Solidarity Budget" when Parliament returned on 6 April.[387] A total of S$5.1 billion was allocated for the package, with S$4 billion to be drawn from past reserves.[388] Due to the extended Circuit Breaker announced on 21 April, support measures from the "Solidarity Budget" were extended to May, costing another S$3.8 billion.[389]

On 10 May, the Ministry of Finance announced that 32 companies had returned Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts worth S$35 million and had said they would not receive future payments related to JSS. Other companies that had previously received JSS monies, had said that while they retain what they had already received, they would also not receive further payments.[390]

Fourth stimulus package – "Fortitude Budget"

On 19 May, it was announced that Finance Minister Heng would propose a fourth round of support measures at a statement delivered to Parliament on 26 May at 3.30 pm.[391] On 25 May, President Halimah gave her in-principle approval for the Government to draw on the reserves for the package, the second time it was done for this crisis. The budget has since been named the "Fortitude Budget".[392] It was announced that the government would draw an additional S$32 billion from past reserves, bringing the total used to S$52 billion. In addition, another S$13 billion will be set aside for contingencies due to the pandemic.[393] Extending and enhancing the JSS, to include higher tiers of wage subsidies and lasting until August, would cost around S$2.9 billion, bringing the total cost to S$23.5 billion.[394] To thank Singaporeans for working from home during the "circuit breaker", the government introduced a one off Solidarity Utilities Credit of S$100 for all households.[395] Food and beverage (F&B) and retail companies would receive up to S$10,000 as part of efforts to digitally transform their businesses, as they are likely to be seriously affected by safe distancing rules after the circuit breaker is lifted.[396] S$2 billion was committed to SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package was announced to create close some 100,000 opportunities for workers affected by the COVID-19 economic slowdown; involving around 40,000 jobs, 25,000 traineeships and 30,000 skills training opportunities. The public sector will create more jobs, with the majority coming from the early childhood and healthcare sectors.[397]

After announcing more draw downs of the reserves, Minister Heng warned that Singapore's financial position would be weaker going forward, but the government would do try to mitigate the negative effects.[398]

Monetary Authority of Singapore package

To help financial institutions and FinTech companies tide over the virus, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released a $125 million package to help financial institutions and FinTech companies to strengthen long-term capabilities.[399]

Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) measures

On 14 April, the Infocomm Media Development Authority announced that they will launch Public Service Content worth S$8 million and fund 90% of the course fees for Self-Employed Persons under Talent Assistance (T-Assist) Programme. To reduce operating costs, the Film Exhibition and Distribution Licence Fees will be waived from 17 April.[400]

SingapoRediscovers vouchers

Every Singaporean who would be aged 18 and above in 2020 would receive S$100 worth of SingapoRediscovers vouchers, which can be used for a variety activities to support the local tourism industry. They were planned to be usable between December 2020 and June 2021 and would be paid via SingPass.[401] Additionally, Trip.com has a "Pay It Forward" campaign throughout this usable period, where people can use their vouchers to pay for tourism products for various beneficiary groups.[402] When the vouchers were launched, there were some complaints from Singaporeans about the complex way the vouchers were to be redeemed.[403]

On 30 April 2021, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced that the expiry date of the SingapoRediscovers vouchers will be extended to 31 December 2021, and that improvements to the redemption process will be rolled out.[404]

Criticisms and reactions

On 18 February and 10 March, the WHO praised Singapore's efforts to contain COVID-19 infections through tracing and quarantining close contacts, testing every case of influenza-like illness and pneumonia, and Singapore's "all-government approach" in the containment of COVID-19. The Singapore Police Force, Singapore Armed Forces and Ministry of Health are coordinating to do aggressive contact tracing.[405] While many international medical experts praised Singapore's efforts to control the outbreak in Singapore, The New York Times argued that this could well be the continuation of erosion of civil liberties.[406] Despite effective handling of initial waves of infection, serious outbreaks in April have brought the situation in Singapore out of control; many analysts points to poor conditions at foreign workers dormitories as a major factor of the failure.[407][408]

Mistreatment of healthcare workers

It was reported in February that healthcare workers faced mistreatment from the public. President Halimah Yacob urged Singaporeans to appreciate the work of healthcare workers.[409] Grab announced that they will be launching GrabCare to transport healthcare workers to and from their work places.[410]

On 12 April, CNA reported that some staff members of Lee Ah Mooi, a nursing home, were evicted by landlords.[411] However, the authorities had also mentioned that landlords who evict tenants on Leave of Absence or Stay-Home Notices would be penalised.[411]

Leaked recording of SCCCI dialogue

On 17 February, a leaked recording of a closed-door dialogue session on 10 February of Chan Chun Sing with business people from the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) went viral in Singapore. In the 25-minute recording, Mr. Chan spoke candidly about the supply of surgical masks, which he said were not the solution and should be reserved for the hospital system, as well as characterizing panic buyers as a small group who behaved like "idiots" and would "kill" Singapore's ability to negotiate prices of key supplies internationally.[412] In response, SCCCI said that the leak is "deeply disappointing" and a "betrayal of trust", adding that it was investigating the source of the leak.[412]

Living conditions at foreign worker dormitories

The pandemic brought the living conditions at foreign worker dormitories to media attention. Dormitories were reported to be unsanitary and crowded, making preventive measures like social distancing difficult.[413] Retired diplomat Tommy Koh criticised the living conditions, calling it "third world" and "a time bomb waiting to explode".[414] Amnesty International called the situation a "recipe for disaster".[415] Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo vowed to improve the living conditions of foreign workers after the quarantine was handled.[416]

While churches in the 1960s and 1970s historically championed social justice and advocacy for worker rights within the Singaporean civil society, this has declined over the years due to the rise of a middle class and a dependency on state-centric growth.[417] During the pandemic, Singaporean churches sought ways to bring about "neighbourly love" and national prayer. But some criticised this as not being enough to address the inequalities experienced by foreign workers who were disproportionately affected by the virus.[418]

On 9 April, MOM said in a press release that it will improve quality of meals of foreign workers during quarantine and formed a task force to improve the living conditions of foreign workers.[419] As of 25 April 25 dormitories have been gazetted as isolation areas.[420] Some healthy workers are also progressively being moved to numerous empty premises such as SAF camps, HDB blocks, floating hotels and Changi Exhibition Centre.[421][422] On 16 April, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said that there will be a "three-pronged strategy"; containing the spread, imposing lockdowns and separating workers in essential services.[423]

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong has said that the living standards in dormitories have steadily improved over the years, and suggested that the issue was the dormitories being designed for communal living, where migrant workers ate, lived, and cooked together, and that the initial precautions and safeguards put in place to reduce some of the non-essential activities were not sufficient.[424] The government has promised to build new dormitories that are designed with public health in mind and provide more amenities, while some workers will be temporarily moved to makeshift dormitories before the new dormitories are ready.[425]

It is noted that a large majority of COVID-19 cases in Singapore are foreign workers. On 20 April, Singapore reported a peak of 1,426 new cases, of which only 16 were not migrant workers but citizens or permanent residents. Foreign workers had accounted for three-fourths of the total infections in Singapore by then.[407]

Towards the end of July 2020, a spate of attempted and successful suicides among the foreign workers in dormitories raised concerns about the mental well-being of the workers on lockdown.[426][427] Authorities are monitoring the situation and are working with partners and NGOs to enhance their mental health support programmes.[428][429]

Social distancing on public transport

Before the circuit breaker was implemented, commuters and a few NMPs had urged authorities to enforce social distancing measures on public transport; due to the high demand of commuters, however, this was not implemented.[430][431] Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that when these measures are implemented, it could mean restricting the number of people going to work or school.[431][432] Social distancing was implemented during the start of the circuit breaker, with stickers pasted on seats and auxiliary officers and transport ambassadors enforcing the rules throughout this period.[433]

Since June, public transport has gradually resumed pre-circuit breaker operations. Regulations for social distancing are no longer applicable by law except for fixed public transport area queues such as MRT stations and bus interchanges. Social distancing stickers are removed on bus and train seats, allowing all passengers including seniors to sit. However, commuters should still social distance where possible if there is no seats.[434] Mask wearing continues to be mandatory in public transport and all public places in Singapore.[435]

Home-based businesses

On 26 April, HDB, URA and MND released a joint statement that home-based businesses would have to suspend operations as part of the circuit breaker measures.[436] This generated opposition among home-based food business operators, particularly those dependent on such businesses for income and those seeking to capitalise on increased demand during Ramadan.[437][438] The measure was subsequently adjusted to these businesses to resume operations on 12 May.[439]

TraceTogether controversy

On 4 January 2021, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Koh announced in Parliament that Bluetooth proximity data from the TraceTogether app and token could be used by the police in criminal investigations, as per the Criminal Procedure Code.[440] This resulted in significant backlash, as the announcement contradicted previous statements that the data would strictly be used for contact tracing; concerns were aired about the transparency of the government and how the personal data would be used, as well as possible infringement on the privacy of citizens. Some users even switched off their apps or left their tokens at home in protest.[441] In response, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan clarified that the police could only obtain TraceTogether data through a person involved in the investigation, adding that there were plans to introduce legislation that would restrict police use of TraceTogether data to serious offences such as terrorism or murder.[442] The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill was passed on 2 February, which included a possible extension of the COVID-19 Control Order to next year and beyond if the situation does not improve or worsens, as well as the removal of SafeEntry/TraceTogether data at the end of the pandemic.[443]

Notes

    • Slovenia: 1
    • Egypt: 244
    • India: 699
    • Saudi Arabia: 85
    • Fiji: 7
    • Total: 1,016

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