Those who abandon caution put themselves & country at risk: Lawrence Wong on GE celebration

Singaporeans should not be complacent, said Wong.

Joshua Lee | July 17, 2020, 08:46 PM

Emotions ran high across the spectrum on Polling Day and for many Workers' Party (WP) supporters gathered at a Hougang coffeeshop that night to wait for the election results, it was a night of euphoria as the opposition party gained control of Sengkang GRC.

The supporters throng the coffeeshop at Block 322 Hougang Ave 5, shouted, chanted, and flew the party flag.

Scenes like these occurred in different parts of the island.

Which is probably why an international business publication asked, at a Multi Ministry Taskforce (MTF) press conference on July 17, if the government is expecting a "pickup in the number of infections" and is currently "bracing itself for an uptick in cases".

"Ideally, I mean, you know, they would have practiced safe distancing, the people who were there, they know who they are, but I think the moment got the better of them, and they perhaps forgot about some of these requirements," replied Minister Lawrence Wong.

However, Wong, co-chair of the Multi Ministry Taskforce, added, these folks were definitely wearing masks and it didn't seem like they were in close contact for long.

If the government is able to identify them, it might be able "take them to task" said Wong.

Lapses, though, can happen outside of that moment, in the community, and anywhere in Singapore, said Wong.

Wong said,

"I think it comes down to the basic point, anytime there are lapses by any individuals, there will be a consequence — potentially. And all of us just need to remember that point. It's very basic.

Anytime anyone decides to abandon caution, thinks that it's okay, I do not need to abide by the safe distancing measures, they put themselves and they put the whole country at risk."

Wong added that there will be many other incidents where lapses occur, and urged Singaporeans to remember the basic fundamentals:

"Remember, Covid-19 is not over. Do not be complacent. Do not assume that we got testing, we've got (contact) tracing, we've got all of these measures and therefore, it's okay."

Wong: Don't jump to conclusions about queues during election

On whether the MTF is concerned about "election clusters" emerging, Wong said that the polling was conducted in open spaces and there was no close contact in terms of touching and talking.

He also believes that the Elections Department has done its best to put in place safety protocols and measures for the conduct of the election.

"Whether or not anything happens after this, whether there will be any case emerging, we will not know now. But if it does, we will know later and then we will report and highlight accordingly."

Wong also urged Singaporeans not to jump to conclusions just because they see queues forming.

"Queues form everywhere and not just when people go and cast their vote. Queues form in F&B outlets, queues form at hawker centres and markets, so there are queues everywhere."

Top image by Syahindah Ishak.