Singapore introduces toughest COVID-19 brakes since lockdown, shares crumble

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Office workers scan a Safe Entry QR code to enter a shopping mall, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore on May 12, 2021. REUTERS / Dawn Chua

Singapore on Friday announced the tightest restrictions on social gatherings and public activities since the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown last year, amid an increase in locally acquired infections and the formation of new groups of coronavirus in recent weeks.

The new measures announced by the health ministry, which will be in effect from Sunday to mid-June, include limiting social gatherings to two people and stopping meals in restaurants.

“This is clearly a setback in our fight against COVID-19,” said Lawrence Wong, the education minister who co-chairs the Singapore coronavirus task force.

Working from home will also become the default device under the new measures.

Authorities said they would review the measures after two weeks to assess whether adjustments are needed.

The Asian shopping and financial center had been reporting near-zero or single-digit daily local infections for months, before a recent spike in cases. On Thursday, he confirmed 24 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since mid-September, in part due to a cluster at Changi Airport.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said given the rise in infections it is “very likely” that Singapore will not reach the threshold of a Hong Kong travel bubble, which was recently postponed. at the end of May. Read more

The Singapore stock market (.STI) fell around 3%, due to the drop in stocks exposed to retail and companies exposed to travel. Shares of Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) fell more than 6%.

The Singapore dollar also slipped a fraction after the announcement.

Singapore is due to host the annual Shangri-La Dialogue from June 4 to 5, which typically attracts high-level military officials, diplomats and arms manufacturers from around the world. Read more

The city-state also plans to host the annual World Economic Forum summit in August.

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