Singapore may take years to recover from effects of COVID-19: Deputy PM

Gurdip Singh

Singapore, Jun 6 (PTI) Singapore may take years to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has said, as the city-state on Saturday reported 344 new coronavirus cases, pushing the total number of infections to 37,527.

Speaking in parliament during a debate on the budget on Friday, the deputy prime minister said the road to recovery will be long as Singapore deals with persistent economic impact on workers, jobs, and business, the Channel News Asia reported.

'Beyond economic costs, there will be immense human and social costs,” he said.

To help businesses and residents tide over the COVID-19 economic downturn, parliament on Friday passed the S$ 33 billion Fortitude Budget, the fourth tranche of relief measures this year.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, along with several Cabinet ministers, will deliver a series of national broadcasts from June 7 to June 20.

The national broadcasts will see the ministers explain 'what a post-COVID-19 future looks like for Singapore, and lay out plans to see the country through the storm and emerge stronger,' the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement.

Most of the new coronavirus cases reported on Saturday were foreign workers living in dormitories, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Of the 344 new cases, there were seven new community cases – three Singapore citizens or permanent residents (foreigners) and four foreigners holding work passes.

Singapore will soon roll out a wearable contact tracing device to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 that has affected more than 37,000 people in the country, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan said on Friday.

If the device works, it may be distributed to everyone in Singapore, he said. PTI GS PMS PMS