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Singapore 'making progress' on COVID-19 front, but PM Lee warns about potential 'surprises'

03:27 Min
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore may be halfway or more through its current surge in COVID-19 cases. Mr Lee, who was in Rome for the G20 Summit, also said that he is confident that Singapore will get to open up fully like Italy, but wants to keep the “human cost as low as possible”. Tan Si Hui reports.

ROME: Singapore is "making progress" in the fight against COVID-19, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who also warned about potential “surprises” like those being faced by countries in Europe. 

Mr Lee was speaking to the media at the end of the G20 Summit in Rome on Sunday (Oct 31).

He said that it would take a few months, but assured that Singapore will eventually reopen safely like Italy, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe at more than 72 per cent fully vaccinated.

The country, which had two strict lockdowns previously, has relaxed most of its COVID-19 rules, including the wearing of masks outdoors. 

But Mr Lee warned about potential “surprises”, pointing out that cases in Europe are rising, especially in Western Europe, and authorities there are monitoring the situation.

"It may happen to us too, but we take it one step at a time," he said. 

"So far it has taken us a while, it has been very wearing on our people because each time we think we have arrived, something new turns up and you have to carry on a little bit longer."

"But we are making progress and I think we have confidence we will get there."

Mr Lee also made a comparison of the COVID-19 situation between Singapore and Italy, whose population is 11 times bigger.  

To date, Italy has recorded about 4.7 million cases and 132,000 deaths from COVID-19. Comparing this on a same scale in Singapore, Mr Lee pointed out that it is about 11,000 to 12,000 deaths. 

As of Oct 31, Singapore's death toll stands at 407.

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Source: CNA/rw(ac)