SINGAPORE: Messages circulating online that Singapore will be “locked down” this weekend over the COVID-19 outbreak are untrue, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Friday (Mar 20).

“There is a rumour going around on WhatsApp – some of you may have heard the rumour – that there is going to be a lockdown in Singapore this weekend. Can I just make it very clear – there is no lockdown,” Mr Wong said.

According to a WhatsApp message by the Gov.sg, there are “false rumours” circulating that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be addressing the nation on Friday night to announce this lockdown.

“The Prime Minister is not addressing the nation tonight, nor is Singapore locking down,” the government message read.

READ: 40 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 30 imported infections

Singapore on Friday confirmed 40 new COVID-19 cases, of which 30 are imported infections. This increase takes the national total to 385 cases. 

The Ministry of Health also announced stricter safe distancing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t know how the rumours started,” Mr Wong told a press conference.

READ: Singapore launches TraceTogether mobile app to boost COVID-19 contact tracing efforts

“It could be because we have been pursuing these measures and have been talking to many venue operators already about all the safe distancing measures that we want to put in place.”

The taskforce overseeing the COVID-19 situation in Singapore has been talking to F&B operators and religious leaders about the safe distancing measures as well.

READ: All events, gatherings with 250 participants or more must be suspended to further reduce COVID-19 spread

READ: Activities for seniors suspended for another 14 days as part of stricter safe distancing measures

“It could be because of that, but this does not constitute a lockdown. But it certainly means that all of these things that we are doing are taken together a significant step up in our measures,” Mr Wong explained.

“It should lead to fewer people out and about, it should lead to fewer crowded places, and it should lead to a reduction in activities that involves close contact and that provide potential vectors for transmission of the virus.”

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