SINGAPORE — At the end of an “exceptionally testing” year for Singapore, the pandemic situation in the country has stabilised through “enormous effort and sacrifice” and Singaporeans can take comfort in the start of COVID-19 vaccinations, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his New Year’s message.
Addressing the nation on New Year’s Eve, Lee noted that the fatality rate from the virus has remained very low, while the number of new local infections has come down to a handful a day, and zero on most days.
In addition, there are now “signs of stabilisation” in the economy after the most severe downturn since independence, with employment picking up and multi-national corporations making significant new investments in Singapore.
“We can now see light at the end of the tunnel. But it will still take some time for enough people to be vaccinated before we are safe from another major uncontrolled outbreak,” warned Lee. “Now is not yet the time to celebrate. That time will come.”
The 68-year-old noted that trust in the government remains high, even as the “unprecedented crisis” of the pandemic has deepened old fault lines and created new tensions elsewhere. “(This is) because the government has been open and upfront about the facts, and justified your faith that it is doing its very best to deal with the crisis.”
Lee stressed that Singapore must emerge stronger by the shared experience of the pandemic. “Just as we have come together to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, the defining crisis for this generation, so too we must come together to rebuild better and stronger.”
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