The Singapore government will step in to help safeguard against retrenchments, defence minister Ng Eng Hen said in his 2020's Total Defence Day speech about the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) threat.
Ensuring that the economy can function to safeguard jobs
Ng said the government will work with unions and companies to safeguard jobs, amidst the viral outbreak:
Even as we deal with the viral outbreak, we must ensure that our economy can function to keep jobs and livelihoods for Singapore. The government will work with companies and unions to ensure that retrenchments are kept to a minimum, if at all.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Feb. 14 that Singapore could go into a recession in 2020.
Fighting fake news
In addition to the five pillars of Total Defence, Ng also talked about digital defence, the sixth pillar introduced in 2019.
This is to target the current spread of misinformation across social media about the coronavirus, whether on purpose or organically.
At the same time, Singaporeans are told to be mindful of their expressions of xenophobia and hatred towards certain groups of people.
Ng emphasised that such behaviour does not help combat the Covid-19, but instead does more harm.
He also talked about the acronym "DRUMS", which was put in place as part of digital defence:
We must never let these DRUMS – distortions, rumours, untruths, misinformation and smears – be heard lest they sow discord, divide our people and ultimately weaken our will to defeat the outbreak and defend Singapore.
Ng thanked those working on the frontline
In the speech, Ng thanked those working on the front line, especially medical professionals who are treating patients infected with the virus.
You can watch the full speech here:
First line of defence: Wash your hands
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Ministry of Health website
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Top screenshot from TotalDefenceSG/Youtube