'We do not expect to move out of Phase 3 anytime soon': Janil Puthucheary

The situation locally and around the world remains dynamic.

Jason Fan | February 25, 2021, 01:22 PM

Singapore is unlikely to move out of Phase 3 "any time soon", due to the dynamic Covid-19 situation locally, as well as around the world, according to Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary on Thursday (Feb. 25).

This was in response to a question posed by Member of Parliament (MP) for Yio Chu Kang Yip Hon Weng, who asked whether there is a specific criteria that must be fulfilled before the current Phase 3 restrictions can be lifted.

Singaporeans need to remain vigilant

According to Puthucheary, ever since Singapore moved into Phase 3, the world has seen increased Covid-19 outbreaks, as well as the emergence of more transmissible viral variants.

Locally, Singapore has also faced an increase in unlinked and community cases several weeks ago.

Puthucheary said that while Covid-19 outbreaks in several countries may have abated in recent weeks, Singaporeans need to remain vigilant.

He emphasised that the government will continue to find ways to allow the economy and society to further re-open in a safe way, but given the dynamic situation here and around the world, "we do not expect to move out of Phase 3 anytime soon."

"Phase 3 is a new normal which will last until the time when there is evidence on vaccine effectiveness in preventing future outbreaks, and a substantial proportion of the population is vaccinated, and the rest of the world also has the virus under control," said Puthucheary.

Safe management measures together with vaccines are the best strategy

In addition, while the vaccines approved in Singapore have been shown to be effective in providing protection against the Covid-19 virus, the government is still awaiting more evidence about how effective they will be about preventing transmission.

The government is also closely monitoring the vaccine's effectiveness against new viral variants.

According to Puthucheary, the best strategy for now is to be disciplined about safe management measures, and to achieve a high level of vaccination within the Singaporean population, in order to boost the population's collective immunity.

"Singapore has made good progress on our vaccination programme. We are continuing to bring in more vaccine supplies, and we encourage all eligible Singaporeans to get vaccinated, to protect themselves and others around them," said Puthucheary.

Top image via MCI/YouTube.