Singapore to close pubs, cinemas as number of imported coronavirus cases rises – dpa international


Singapore’s Health Ministry on Tuesday announced a range of new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, with “entertainment venues” such as bars, cinemas, theatres and nightclubs to be shuttered until April 30.

The measures were announced as the ministry reported that 49 more people were diagnosed with Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. Two people have died in Singapore after contracting the disease.

Thirty-two of the new cases were categorized as “imported,” 27 of which were linked to a recent travel history to Britain, which on Monday announced a lockdown aimed at curbing its own spread of the virus.

“We expect the number of cases in Singapore to increase,” the ministry stated, announcing that Singaporeans returning from the US and Britain will be quarantined in hotels for 14 days, the maximum estimated incubation period for Covid-19.

Singapore had previously restricted inbound travel by banning tourists and short-term visitors – measures that are likely to hit the city-state’s trade and travel-dependent economy hard.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will unveil a “supplementary budget” on Thursday, despite pledging almost 5 billion dollars to offset the health and economic impacts of the virus in the annual budget announced in February.

In the meantime, the coronavirus outbreak has been labelled by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic, with almost 17,000 people dead and more than 380,000 infected.

The need for the supplementary budget, Heng said on Thursday, reflects “how fast the situation has deteriorated over the past weeks.”

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