The trajectory of our economic recovery depends critically on how the world deals with the virus, DPM Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament.
A key uncertainty, Mr Heng said, is whether and when a safe and effective vaccine can be developed. Even if a vaccine is developed, the pandemic may not end quickly because the initial supply of the vaccine will be limited and its rollout uneven. How long the protective effect of a vaccine will last is also unknown.
Our COVID-19 response
In our fight against COVID-19, Singapore is currently in a stable position, DPM Heng Swee Keat said.
To put us in the best position to fight COVID-19, the Government is focusing on 4 key prongs, Mr Heng said in his Ministerial Statement.
- Contact tracing
- Safe management
In his speech, DPM Heng said the Government is working very actively to secure early access to safe and effective vaccines, if and when they become available.
Singapore is pursuing the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines with a number of pharmaceutical companies. At the same time, Singapore is also supporting local efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and as well as building up vaccine manufacturing capacity.
Singapore is also an early supporter of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (or COVAX) Facility, which accelerates the development and production of, and equitable access to potential COVID-19 vaccines, Mr Heng said.
Together with Switzerland, Singapore co-chairs the Friends of the COVAX Facility to promote vaccine multilateralisation.
Mr Heng revealed that we are close to our target of 40,000 laboratory tests a day. We are also evaluating less invasive testing technologies that can produce results more quickly. This enhanced testing capability will help us safely resume more activities sooner.
3. Contact tracing
Swift contact tracing and isolation of infected individuals are key to limiting the spread of the virus.
The TraceTogether tokens are being distributed nationwide. Together with the TraceTogther app and SafeEntry programme, they have enabled contact tracing to reach the speed and coverage needed to rapidly contain viral transmission, Mr Heng said.
4. Safe Management and Road Map to Phase 3
Mr Heng said the Multi-Ministry Taskforce co-chaired by Ministers Gan Kim Yong and Lawrence Wong will be releasing more details on the roadmap to Phase 3 in the coming weeks.
This will include the expected timeline for moving to Phase 3, changes to current regulation on the size of group gatherings and participation at mass events.