‘Dead city’: Singapore closes workplaces in virus fight

Singaporean authorities previously resisted the kind of draconian measures seen in worse-hit countries. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 April 2020

‘Dead city’: Singapore closes workplaces in virus fight

  • Authorities previously resisted the kind of draconian measures seen in worse-hit countries
  • City-state reported 66 more COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing its total so far to 1,375, including six deaths

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s usually bustling business district was almost deserted Tuesday as most workplaces in the city-state closed to stem the spread of the coronavirus after a surge in cases.
The financial hub has won praise for using a tough regime of testing and tracing contacts of the sick to keep its outbreak largely in check, but has seen a jump in new infections in recent days.
Authorities previously resisted the kind of draconian measures seen in worse-hit countries — but have now ordered the closure of all businesses deemed non-essential as well as schools, and have asked people to stay home.
There were just a handful of people in a usually packed major square in the business district Tuesday morning as workplaces closed.
“It feels like a dead city, everyone is scared, they’re all hiding at home,” Jenny Lee, who works at an insurance brokers, said.
“All the crowds have disappeared.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged Singaporeans to “do our part to support our health care professionals by staying at home, and complying with the enhanced measures in place.”
Schools will close from Wednesday, with the tougher restrictions set to last a month.
The city-state reported 66 more COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing its total so far to 1,375, including six deaths.
While these figures are low compared to many other countries, authorities nevertheless decided to take action after a rise in locally transmitted cases in the city of 5.7 million.
The government at the weekend quarantined almost 20,000 foreign migrant workers for two weeks after a growing number of infections were discovered in their dormitories.
Large numbers of foreign laborers, mostly from South Asia, work in construction in the city-state and usually live in sprawling dormitory complexes.
Globally, the virus has claimed more than 74,000 victims out of 1.34 million confirmed cases.


Malaysia reports 19 new coronavirus cases, one new death

Updated 05 June 2020

Malaysia reports 19 new coronavirus cases, one new death

  • The health ministry also reported its first death in two weeks

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 19 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the cumulative total to 8,266 infections.
The health ministry also reported its first death in two weeks, raising the number of fatalities to 116.
Earlier on Friday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled an additional economic stimulus package worth around $8.2 billion in a bid to revitalize industries badly hit by the pandemic.