Singapore preliminarily reported a record 942 new virus cases as of 12pm on Saturday (18 April), versus 623 the day before, this takes the total number of cases to 5,992. The country’s health ministry said in a statement.
Foreign workers living in dormitories account for the vast majority of the new infections, it said.
Measures to combat spread of coronavirus
The COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act, passed in Parliament last Tuesday, gives authorities the power to ban events and gatherings, or impose conditions on how they are conducted, during the “circuit breaker” period from 7 April to 4 May.
Those caught flouting the enhanced safe distancing measures for the first time will be given a composition fine of $300, and a $1,000 fine for the second time.
Egregious cases will be prosecuted in court. A first-time offender who is prosecuted under the Act can face a maximum fine of $10,000, or a jail term of up to six months, or both. A second-time or subsequent offender can face a maximum fine of $20,000, or a jail term of up to a year, or both.
On Tuesday, authorities said that mask-wearing while going out would be mandatory and offenders will face similar penalties. Exceptions to the rule include children under the age of 2, individuals who are excused from wearing masks on medical grounds, and those doing strenuous exercise.
People who flout their five-day medical leave or stay-home notices are also subjected to similar penalties.
Part of the “circuit breaker” measures – announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 3 April – include the closure of schools and most workplaces. Only essential services like food establishments, markets and supermarkets, transport, and key banking services will remain open during the month-long closure.
In a Good Friday address last week, Lee reiterated his call for Singaporeans to stay home, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in foreign worker dormitories as well as in the general population.
Last weekend, the authorities issued a slew of measures, including the closure of beaches, facilities in parks and gardens and playfields.
Stadiums have also been closed, while parents are not allowed to drop off their children with grandparents on a daily basis.
Separately, all Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from overseas apart from Hubei province must serve the 14-day stay-home notice, while those returning from Hubei must serve a 14-day quarantine.
All short-term visitors are barred from entering or transiting via Singapore.
Last Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced an additional $5.1 billion Solidarity Budget to help businesses, workers and households.
The government’s response to COVID-19 will total $59.9 billion, or about 12 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product.
Reporting by Staff Writer, Singapore Editorial Team, Yahoo News