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The Singapore government hopes to lift restrictions linked to the pandemic from June 13 if it manages to bring a number of local clusters under control.

The Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed 16 new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infection, 13 of which are linked to previous cases.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said testing would be stepped up even if the curbs were removed. “First, we need to test faster, and more liberally and thoroughly,” he said.

He said Singapore’s health authorities will introduce different types of testing. “Many different types of Covid-19 tests have become available, for example, rapid antigen tests, saliva tests, breathalyzers, sewage monitoring, even sniffer dogs.”

Lee added, “This will allow us to detect cases more quickly so that we can isolate them and isolate their contacts quickly, before the virus spreads further.”

A runner and a cyclist cross the Jubilee Bridge in Singapore as the city-state plans to end restrictions linked to the pandemic © Lauryn Ishak / Bloomberg

He acknowledged that the clusters emerged after Singapore appeared to defeat the virus.

“Unfortunately, we are also fighting new, more infectious variants of the Covid-19 virus,” the Prime Minister said, noting that variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the UK, and B . 1.617. 2 variant, which was first detected in India, had arrived in the city-state.

“More variations will inevitably emerge, and we’ll have to deal with them as well,” Lee said.

The prime minister said Singapore was able to respond to the new threats.

“Unless another super-spreader or a large cluster, we should be on the right track to bringing this epidemic under control.”


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