Group of 5 rule, other COVID SMM, to remain through CNY: Lawrence Wong

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
A notice warning people not to gather in groups larger than five persons as part of restrictions to hald the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus is displayed at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on January 4, 2022. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A notice warning people not to gather in groups larger than five persons as part of restrictions to hald the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus is displayed at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on January 4, 2022. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – Social groups of five, and other current COVID-19 safe management measures (SMM), will continue to be in place through the upcoming Chinese New Year (CNY). 

The official public holidays for CNY fall on 1 and 2 February, but celebrations and visitations traditionally occur for 15 days. 

Referring to the Omicron wave of the virus, Finance Minister and co-chair of the COVID multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) Lawrence Wong said at a virtual press conference on Wednesday (5 January), "I can't imagine the wave passing before Chinese New Year. So, very clearly, through this period and through Chinese New Year, the current rules will be maintained."

Wong spoke about an incident of overcrowding at Clarke Quay during a New Year's Eve celebration. "But if we were to let our guard down and take unnecessary risk, then transmission will be amplified. The infection wave will be much larger...And we may have no choice but to tighten. Take the example of what happened with the New Year's Eve celebration at Clarke Quay," he said. 

"What happened was that people started gathering together, they got caught up in the moment and soon, we had a crowd of more than 100 people at that location." 

Many, he said, flouted SMM rules, and may have caused a potential spread of COVID. 

"We don't intend to relax (SMM) further at this time and we will try not to have to tighten," Wong said.

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday confirmed 842 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the country's total case count to 281,596.

The weekly infection growth rate rose to above 1 for the first time since 12 November 2021. The rate, or the ratio of community cases for the past week over the week before, is now at 1.09, and has been climbing since a low of 0.52 on 24 December 2021.

There were also three more deaths due to the disease, with total fatalities at 832 as of Tuesday. 

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