SINGAPORE, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Singapore will close most workplaces and schools will move to full home-based learning, amid stricter measures to minimise the COVID-19 spread, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong here Friday.
"Despite our good contact tracing, for nearly half of these cases, we do not know where or from whom the person caught the virus," said Lee while delivering an address to the nation on Friday afternoon. The number of coronavirus cases hit 1,000 in Singapore on April 1.
Comparing these stricter measures to a "circuit breaker", Lee said that it decided to make a "decisive move" now, to reduce the risk of a big outbreak occurring and to bring the numbers down.
From next Tuesday, Singapore will close most workplaces, except for essential services like food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services, he announced.
Key economic sectors will also remain open, such as those that form part of a global supply chain. People working in these industries can continue to go to work, with safe-distancing measures in place.
In addition, schools and institutes of higher learning will move to full home-based learning starting next Wednesday. All preschool and student care centres will also be closed, but will provide limited services for children of parents who have to continue working and are unable to make alternative care arrangements.
These heightened safe distancing measures will be in place for four weeks from April 7 to May 4.