Singapore partly reopens despite rise in COVID-19 cases

Singapore partly reopens despite rise in COVID-19 cases

People have their haircut at a hairdressing salon as they reopen for business amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore. Credit: Reuters Photo

Singaporeans were able to get a haircut at the barber or pop in to their favorite bakery Tuesday as the government loosened restrictions, three weeks before a partial lockdown ends.

Despite an upsurge in cases due to an outbreak among foreign workers staying in crowded dormitories, the government says transmission in the local community has dropped and plans a phased reopening of the economy.

Barbers and hairdressers, food manufacturers and outlets as well as laundry shops are among selected businesses that can open doors with strict health measures Tuesday after five weeks of shutdown. Barbers are opened by appointment basis only and notices outside shops call for face masks before entry.

Officials reminded citizens not to rush out or loiter outside to keep the city safe.

"It's a bit messy because suddenly we received the notice in such a very short notice .... but we're trying to make it work out with all the safety measures,” said Chow Siew Yong, owner of a Chinese medicine hall.

Singapore recorded 23,336 infections, the highest in Asia after China, India and Pakistan. But it has a low fatality rate of 21 deaths. About 90% of cases are linked to foreign workers dorms, which have all remained locked down as testing continues.