COVID-19 and DORSCON status
It’s been almost half a year since the start of the coronavirus. COVID-19 in short. Under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON), Singapore is currently in the Orange category which means that the COVID-19 disease is severe and spreads easily but still contained.
More info about the DORSCON status and COVID-19 can be found on the MOH website.
Reopening of Singapore thru phases – walking out of the COVID-19 shadow
Although the DOSCON status is Orange, Singapore is now gradually reopening after the lifting of the Circuit Breaker on 2nd June 2020. The multi ministry task force has said that the reopening will be done in 3 phases. We are now currently in Phase 2 which is the transition stage which could last for several months from 18th June 2020 2359hrs.
Safe distancing principle applies during phase two.
- One metre safe distancing at all times to be ensured.
- If its not possible, the one metre requirement can be done between groups with group sizes not more that five people and no mixing between groups. This applies to small group social gatherings and household who may receive up to five visitors at any one time.
Business activities that can be resumed in Phase Two after 18th June 2020 2359hrs:
- Retail businesses, who may re-open their physical outlets
- Dine-in at food and beverage outlets (although live music, television and video screenings are not allowed at this stage)
- Personal health and wellness activities
- Home-based services
- Tuition and other private enrichment classes (although singing or voice training classes will not resume)
- Sports, parks and other public facilities. These include playgrounds, beaches, swimming complexes, sport halls, gyms and fitness studios, function rooms, and similar facilities in private condominiums and clubs
- Registered clubs and societies, at their registered premises
- All healthcare services, including face-to-face visits at residential facilities for the elderly, although safe distancing and precautionary measures will be put in place
And with effect from 26th June 2020, place of worship can resume congregational and worship services starting at 50 persons at a time. Museums will also reopen with safety measures in place.
Tourism business will also be permitted to operate in stages from 1st July 2020 beginning with 13 attractions. This only applies for local domestic tours. Hotels can also reopen for staycation bookings subjected to approvals.
Cinemas will be reopen from 13th July 2020 with safety measures like a metre safe distancing between seats. Up to 5 patrons (friends and family) are allowed to be seated together without the 1m requirement. Maximum seating capacity of a cinema hall is 50 patrons and mask must be worn at all times except consuming food and drinks.
Help for Singaporeans and Business thru Budget 2020
In total, the government introduced 4 budgets amounting to nearly $100 billion to help Singaporean workers, households, and businesses to survive and tide over the Circuit Breaker period and moving forward. These budgets are:
- S$6.4 billion Unity Budget on 18th February 2020
- S$48.4 billion Resilience Budget on 26th March 2020
- S$5.1 billion Solidarity Budget on 6th April 2020
- S$33 billion Fortitude Budget on 26th May 2020
In these budgets, the Singapore Government is drawing on their past reserves to help Singaporeans workers, households, and Businesses tide thru the COVID-19 epidemic. Singapore is the one and only country that has so much money in their reserves and without borrowing from other countries.
Contact tracing, Swap testing and total cases
As of 24th July 2020, there are 49,375 confirmed cases in Singapore with 45,015 people fully recovered.
Due to Singapore’s proactiveness in contact tracing and identifying potential new cases, it is one of the countries that recorded high case counts while other countries seemingly has low case rates. Then after during one of the contact tracing, they traced a confirmed case to a dormitory and that prompted Singapore to do full extensive testing on all the foreign workers living in the dormitories. These are mostly people from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the building and construction sector. The all-time high was 1,426 cases on 20th April 2020.
Thereafter, cases start to maintain at a consistent rate with the huge majority being the foreigners in the dormitories. Community cases remain low.
Below are some statistics from Google and Wikipedia on the COVID-19 cases for some countries in South East Asia.
Singapore, a safe heaven and ideal country for Relocation and Investment
Throughout the whole period of the COVID-19 pandemic, never once did the government abandon Singapore nor did they deny the fact on the rising cases. Instead, they stood firm, tackled the problem head on without backing away.
The first case in Singapore was a foreigner from China, Wuhan. Due to Singapore being a transport hub with huge volumes of travellers coming into Singapore from China for holidays, it was a huge hit when Singapore finally decides to close its borders to all foreign travellers from China. This was spurred by the fact that evacuees from Hubei province which is the epicentre of the outbreak start to coming into Singapore just before their Lockdown commences.
A day after 2 confirmed coronavirus related deaths, Singapore closed it s borders to tourists and short-term visitors on 24th March 2020. This is an unprecedented move as Singapore did not do so even during the height of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic.
While some countries are still denying the fact that the coronavirus is already in the community, Singapore has gone about doing extensive contact tracing on the confirmed cases and the people who they have interacted with. This is a laborious job that often may lead to nothing. But through the process of contact tracing, Singapore identified new clusters quickly and promptly and did the necessary before it escalates.
Following guidelines from World Health Organisation (WHO) that masks were ineffective against the coronavirus, Singapore assures the nation that masks are unnecessary; only wear surgical masks if feeling unwell. Even the ministers and prime minister Lee Hsien Loong did not wear masks when giving speeches to give a better assurance to the general public. Thereafter when WHO changed their stand and urge everyone to wear masks, Singapore responded by following suit and urge everyone to wear masks even if they are not sick.
During this period, surgical masks were in high demand and some businesses and individuals try to profit by selling the masks at highly inflated prices. The authorities stepped in and cracked down on profiteers after complaints were made. Even e-commerce platforms are not spared as Letters of Demand are sent to Lazada, Carousell and Qoo10 to request for information on potential profiteers on their platforms.
Due to speculations that Singapore might go into lockdown soon, many head to supermarkets and started panic buying.
FairPrice Supermarket Chief Mr Seah Kian Peng responded quickly and calm the public by assuring that stocks of groceries at the stores will be replenished and there will be no shortage situation. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing also assured that Singapore’s supply lines for essential supplies like rice and instant noodles will be intact and there were no risks of running a shortage of essential food or household items and there is a national stockpile for essential items.
Financially Strong Country
During this period, Singapore had its own god of fortune. His name is Heng Swee Keat, who is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. During the National Budget 2020, he announced that the government will be drawing on its reserves to help Singaporean workers, households and also to keep businesses afloat. Almost SGD$100 billion is drawn out and set aside to help Singapore fight COVID-19 fallout and survive the grim economic outlook ahead. To put this amount in perspective, Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) for 2018 was SGD$504 billion.
Singapore is probably the only country in the world that has the finances and the capability to help out fellow Singaporeans and businesses, especially amid this pandemic. Keeping in mind the fact that the post pandemic economy might be grim for many months to come, these budget handouts will not only assist people during the critical period, its also gives the people and businesses a chance to upgrade and reskill to prepare them for the new challenges ahead.
This shows that on one hand, the government is collecting taxes from the people but in times of need, they are ready and willing to use these funds for the good of the people and the country’s growth. And the country is financially sound even after these spending.
Now, how many countries can proudly do the same?
Singapore is a small island of 721.5km2. With good governance, political stable, safe country and friendly to foreign investments, this country is growing to become one of the most liveable countries in Asia. You may not be able to get a 50% investment return if you invest in residential properties here compared to other developing countries, but the risk of investment here is low and the currency is stable and strong. Investors here will be able to get a decent Return on Investment (ROI) thru rentals, but the main bulk will be thru capital appreciation of the property itself.
Now the next question that you might be asking would probably be whether to get a Freehold Property or a Leasehold Property. And which location you should be buying. Check out some of the new condominium launches in Singapore over at SGPropertyHome to see which project interests you. Feel free to book an appointment with us and we will contact you shortly. Our agents at SGPropertyHome are professionally trained to give you sound advice and suggestions to help grow your wealth thru property investment in Singapore.