Singapore starts phase 2 of reopening

Singapore on Friday announced the start of phase two of easing coronavirus restrictions.

The city-state started to impose an expanded COVID-19 testing regime and the use of technology to facilitate efficient contact tracing as part of its efforts to resume economic activity.

"Our current testing strategy is focused on active case finding among the community and active surveillance testing amongst targeted groups who are more vulnerable or have a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19," the Health Ministry said in a statement.

“We have plans to increase capacity to 40,000 tests daily,” it added.

The ministry noted that it will test all individuals who are diagnosed with acute respiratory infection (ARI) on the first visit to a doctor to detect infected individuals early and quickly contain further spread.

Singapore’s government is facing calls from opposition parties and a group of regional lawmakers to hold off on its yet-to-be-announced general elections, citing the health risk to voters amid the coronavirus pandemic and restrictive campaign rules.

The restriction of movement during Singapore’s phased reopening from a partial lockdown -- including a ban on large gatherings and rallies -- may disadvantage opposition parties, according to a report published on Thursday by Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, a group of current and former regional government officials.

Singapore reported 142 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the national tally to 41,615.

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