Health and Science

Singapore extends 'circuit breaker' partial lockdown measures until June 1

Key Points
  • Some of those measures, which the Singapore leader calls a "circuit breaker," involve shutting schools and most workplaces temporarily.
  • Those measures, which were implemented two weeks ago, were initially supposed to end on May 4. 

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday that partial lockdown measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country will be extended by four weeks to June 1.

Some of those measures, which the Singapore leader calls a "circuit breaker," involve shutting schools and most workplaces temporarily. Those measures, which were implemented two weeks ago, were initially supposed to end on May 4. 

To help businesses cope with the extended period of the partial lockdown, the government will extend some stimulus measures into the month of May, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. That includes wage subsidies and rebates in foreign worker levies, he said. 

Those measures would cost an additional 3.8 billion Singapore dollars ($2.7 billion), said Heng. 

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The announcement after the country's Ministry of Health preliminarily confirmed another 1,111 cases of the coronavirus disease, taking its total number of cases to 9,125 since the outbreak. The government sometimes releases an update before confirming the cases later in the day.

The vast majority of the new cases involved migrant workers living in dormitories, said the ministry. Singapore relies on foreign migrant workers in its construction sector, which is made up largely of men from other Asian countries who carry out labor-intensive jobs. Outbreaks in several worker dormitories have seen the numbers in Singapore balloon — from less than a dozen a day in February, to hundreds of new cases daily in recent weeks.

The latest numbers on Tuesday will be the second consecutive day that Singapore has reported cases of over 1,000 a day. The country now has the highest number of confirmed cases in Southeast Asia.