The bustling streets of Singapore wore a deserted look on Tuesday with sparse traffic and no mad dashes of people scurrying to offices as the country geared up for stricter “circuit breaker” safe distancing measures to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.
The city state has reported six deaths and the number of COVID-19 infections has risen to 1,375.
The country is putting in place its most serious “circuit breaker” from Wednesday till May 4 to limit the escalating coronavirus infections.
Life already has almost come to a standstill as workers in non-essential services have been advised to work from home.
Kevin K, 41, who works in a bank in Raffles Place, said that while the usual peak hour crowd had begun dispersing from a few weeks when some people started working from home, Tuesday’s foot traffic was the lowest he had ever seen on a working day.
“You can close your eyes and walk around, and it would probably take quite a while before you hit anyone,” The Straits Times quoted Kevin K as saying.
There were empty seats on the city-bound Mass Rapid Transit system when the subway train pulled into Raffles Place in the central business district.
In the housing estates, markets, hawker centres and other eateries were serving but it was takeaways for all to eat at home. No one is allowed to sit in for eating at food serving places which usually have been meeting points for breakfast, lunch and dinner for Singaporeans.
“I think the full impact will be felt tomorrow when the schools close,” said Kenny Chua, 38, also a bank employee.
Banks that provide essential services are among the workplaces that are allowed to remain open, though many have scaled back on the number of staff working from the office. Only essential services including hospitals are in full operations.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s largest bank DBS will progressively close 29 branches islandwide over the course of about one week, reported Business Times, adding that the move is in light of stricter “circuit breaker” safe distancing measures to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.
In a notice put up on its website late Monday night, DBS said the affected branches will temporarily shut between April 7 and April 14, through to May 4.
All DBS Treasures and DBS Treasures Private Client centres will also be closed from April 9 to May 4.
That leaves 28 DBS/POSB branches that will stay open with regular banking hours, according to the Business Times.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are over 1.34 million confirmed coronavirus cases across the world and over 74,000 people have died due to the disease.