[COVIDWatch]: Is the Singapore Government easing Circuit Breaker measures in 5 phases?

By May 6, 2020 May 7th, 2020 COVID-19, Health

We have been alerted to a message being forwarded on WhatsApp:

Below is the message in full:

Government’s roadmap to ease Covid-19 restrictions will be set out in 5 phases. These phases will be on 3 week review process, the current phases would commence on the following dates:

Phase 1 – 18th May
Phase 2 – 8th June
Phase 3 – 29th June
Phase 4 – 20th July
Phase 5 – 10th August

If coronavirus cases begin to increase, we will revert to the restrictions set out in the previous stage.

๐Ÿ”ฎ PHASE 1 ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Phase 1 of the roadmap will lift the following restrictions:

๐Ÿ”ธ Construction workers, landscape gardeners and other outdoor workers may return to work

๐Ÿ”ธ Garden centres, repair shops and hardware stores may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Fitness & sport activities (non-contact) in small groups (max of 4 people) may resume (golf included)

๐Ÿ”ธ People may meet up with friends and family in small groups outdoors (size of a “small group” is defined as up to 4 people)

๐Ÿ”ธ The majority of regular health services will resume

๐Ÿ”ธ Outdoor public amenities and tourism sites may reopen (beaches & mountain walks)

*NOTE – social distancing guidelines will remain in operation for all

๐Ÿ”ฎ PHASE 2 ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Phase 2 of the roadmap will lift the following restrictions:

๐Ÿ”ธ Restriction will be extended from 5km to 20km

๐Ÿ”ธ Specific retail hours will be allocated for those currently cocooning

๐Ÿ”ธ Home visits will be allowed to those cocooning, by a small number of persons for a short period of time

๐Ÿ”ธ Up to 4 people may visit another household for a short period of time

๐Ÿ”ธ Slightly larger family gatherings at funerals will be permitted (limited to maximum safe social distancing can still be applied)

๐Ÿ”ธ Solitary workers and workers that can maintain social distancing can return to work

๐Ÿ”ธ Small retail outlets that can control staff and customer numbers and maintain social distancing may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Public libraries will reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Outdoor sporting activities, involving small group training (no matches) can recommenced (no contact still allowed)

๐Ÿ”ฎ PHASE 3 ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Phase 3 of the roadmap will lift the following restrictions:

๐Ÿ”ธ Commence opening of creches and pre-schools for children of essential workers

๐Ÿ”ธ Commence a phased approach to visiting at hospitals and other healthcare settings

๐Ÿ”ธ Businesses where employees have low levels of daily interaction may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Phase in the opening of all other non-essential retail outlets, restricting customer numbers and applying social distancing (limited to retail outlets with street level entrance and exit, i.e. not in shopping centres)

๐Ÿ”ธ Playgrounds will be reopened

๐Ÿ”ธ ‘Behind closed doors’ sporting events may recommence

๐Ÿ”ธ Cafes and restaurants may reopen as long as social distancing is maintained

๐Ÿ”ฎ PHASE 4 ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Phase 4 of the roadmap will lift the following restrictions:

๐Ÿ”ธ Travel will be extended to outside of your region

๐Ÿ”ธ Larger household visits will be permitted

๐Ÿ”ธ Small social gatherings will be permitted (baptisms, small weddings etc.)

๐Ÿ”ธ Creches and pre-schools will reopen for all other children

๐Ÿ”ธ Other employees return to work – beginning with those who cannot work remotely and then staggering the working times to ensure social distancing

๐Ÿ”ธ Barbers and hairdressers may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Museums and other cultural outlets may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Sports teams (GAA & soccer) may recommence and public swimming pools may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Hotels and other hospitality units may reopen based on limited occupancy. Hotel bars are to remain closed.

๐Ÿ”ฎ PHASE 5 ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Phase 5 of the roadmap will lift the following restrictions:

๐Ÿ”ธ Social gatherings will be permitted except for large gathering and gatherings in households of suspect cases

๐Ÿ”ธ Schools and colleges will reopen on a phased basis and will recommence in the new academic year

๐Ÿ”ธ Normal hospital and other residential setting visits will be allowed

๐Ÿ”ธ All employees may return to work on normal onsite arrangements, except organisations that cannot maintain social distancing plans

๐Ÿ”ธ Enclosed shopping centres may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Tattoo and piercing parlors may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Cinemas may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Close contact physical sports may recommence (rugby, boxing etc.)

๐Ÿ”ธ Gyms and dance studios may reopen

๐Ÿ”ธ Mass sporting events may recommence where social distancing can be maintained

๐Ÿ”ธ Indoor recreational venues may reopen (bowling, bingo etc.)

๐Ÿ”ธSmall festivals and other outdoor cultural events may resume

๐Ÿ”ธ Tourist travel to offshore islands may resume


While there was no mention of which country the details of the message was referring to, individuals in Singapore have still forwarded it with the assumption that it was relevant in the local context.

No need for Google to debunk this one

A quick Google search of the sentence “Government’s roadmap to ease Covid-19 restrictions will be set out in 5 phases” already reveals that this 5-phase approach is not one that is taken by the Singapore Government.

We are led to a press release by the Government of Ireland published on 1 May, which revealed a ‘Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business’, created in a bid to ease current COVID-19 restrictions and reopen the Irish economy and society in a phased manner.

The five dates stated in the WhatsApp message also tally with the ones in the press release.

However, even without doing any Google search to verify the information, there were glaring clues that suggest that the message wasn’t referring to Singapore.

Here are a few obvious ones we identified:

  1. ‘Restriction will be extended from 5km to 20km’ – there are no distance-based restrictions in Singapore
  2. ‘Specific retail hours will be allocated for those currently cocooning’ – the term ‘cocooning’ is not something used in Singapore, with the usage of terms like ‘quarantine’ or ‘social distancing’ being more prevalent
  3. ‘Commence opening of creches and pre-schools for children of essential workers’ย  – the term ‘creche’ is not something used in Singapore
  4. ‘Travel will be extended to outside of your region’ย – there are no region-based restrictions in Singapore

Therefore, the assumption that this 5-phase roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions is one that the Singapore Government is using is therefore false.

As for when Singaporeans might be able to experience an easing of Circuit Breaker measures, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong revealed in Parliament on 4 May that this could only happen when the number of community cases daily falls to “zero or single digits over a sustained period of time”.

As of 6 May, 12pm, the Ministry of Health preliminarily confirmed an additional 788 cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore with the majority being Work Permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories. Of the 788 cases, 11 are Singaporeans/PRs.

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