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Netizens question why Ong Ye Kung appears to shift blame from KTV cluster to Jurong Fishery Port cluster

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A doable “uncontrollable rise” of COVID-19 instances from the Jurong Fishery Port cluster is behind the Government’s resolution to revert to a tightening of measures beneath Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), stated Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

In a Facebook submit on Wednesday (22 July), Mr Ong stated that whereas he’s “upset with the irresponsible behaviour” of these concerned within the origins of the KTV cluster, the variety of instances from this cluster “has come down over the past few days”.

The Jurong Fishery Port, which has overtaken the KTV cluster as the present largest energetic cluster in Singapore, is a higher trigger for concern, stated Mr Ong.

“Unfortunately, while our fishmongers and stall assistants were going about earning an honest living, they got infected at the Port. As they went on to work at various markets around the island, many more cases in the community were seeded,” he stated.

Eight new instances had been linked to the KTV cluster as of Wednesday, bringing the full variety of instances to 215, in accordance to the Ministry of well being.

The Jurong Fishery Port recorded 130 new instances yesterday, bringing the full to 454.

Markets have a tendency to be frequented by seniors, a lot of whom stay unvaccinated, stated Mr Ong.

“This is most worrying, and we are at risk of an uncontrollable rise in cases, which could potentially result in many severe illnesses or even deaths. So we need to preemptively tighten up social activities,” he stated.

Addressing the suspension of dine-in preparations in eating places, on condition that there have been no instances detected in these settings, Mr Ong stated: “Unfortunately it does not work like that.”

“If 5 friends meet for dinner, each has 5 people at home, who in turn meet their friends in groups of 5, we have a network of 5x5x5=125 connections for the virus to work itself through. This will turbo charge the Jurong Fishery Port cluster further,” he stated.

Noting that over half of Singapore’s inhabitants has acquired two doses, Mr Ong stated that the nation is “so close to being in a much stronger and confident position”.

“It is a good rate but needs to go higher. This percentage will be going up by 1 percentage point every day. In 2 weeks, we will be at 64% or more. That will put us in a much stronger and resilient position when we review the Phase 2 (HA) rules,” he stated.

“Given the gravity of the Jurong Fishery Port cluster, we felt it is not the time to risk it all now,” Mr Ong burdened.

Netizens commenting on The Straits Times’ and Mothership.sg’s Facebook posts on the matter, nonetheless, criticised Mr Ong for showing to shift the main focus away from the KTV cluster to the Jurong Fishery Port one.

“Making Jurong Fishery Port the scapegoat? So that you won’t b blamed for issuing short term passes unnecessarily and for allowing KTVs to operate as F&B???” stated one commenter.

“It all started when the authorities are stupid enough to grant ktv f&b license. We are more upset by your inability to handle this pandemic,” stated one other.

Another commenter stated that Mr Ong’s assertion appears to “protect the KTV owners and also to absolve themselves from any fault or blame” relating to the pivoting of sure nightlife companies to F&B ones.

Nightlife venues that weren’t included in a pilot programme had been allowed to briefly “pivot” their enterprise to the meals and beverage class since October 2020.

The pilot programme was truly delayed in January 2021 till additional discover, amid an increase in neighborhood instances.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the delay was to “prevent the risk of further community transmission and formation of clusters in high-risk settings such as nightclubs and karaoke outlets, which entail people coming into close contact for prolonged periods of time and in enclosed spaces”.

In a joint assertion on Tuesday, the police and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) stated that overnment companies have carried out each day enforcement checks on F&B retailers in addition to pivoted nightlife institutions since October final yr, with about 400 retailers inspected in every operation.

“Many of these pivoted establishments have fully complied with the requirements. Others, disappointingly, have not been responsible,” they acknowledged.

The authorities added that joint enforcement operations involving numerous authorities companies and the police have additionally been carried out over 20 weekends and all festive intervals since October final yr.

“To date, agencies have imposed around 100 closure orders on F&B outlets, including around 40 pivoted establishments, with around 10 repeat offenders.

“The operators also face further enforcement action including fines and prosecution in court,” they famous.

One commenter questioned why KTVs had been allowed to pivot when the grants ought to have “been better spent on aiding struggling food. places such as hawker centre stalls and restaurants”.

Several commenters additionally identified how Mr Ong had earlier acknowledged that the KTV and port clusters are linked.

“Our scientists are conducting the phylogenetic studies. Both clusters are linked,” stated Mr Ong in a Facebook submit.

“Genetically, they differ from the Delta variant that infected Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Changi Airport, but are closer to what we have detected in imported cases from Indonesia,” he added.

One commenter was essential of the Government’s resolution to proceed with this yr’s National Day Parade (NDP) regardless of the emergence of the KTV, port and different new clusters.

An on-line petition has emerged on Change.org urging the Government to cancel the NDP this yr.

It “does not make any sense” for the Government to conduct a public occasion because the variety of COVID-19 instances are rising, the petition assertion learn.

Even if NDP will not be thought-about a social gathering, it’s nonetheless a “mass-scale gathering”, including that 1000’s of individuals will probably be current on the occasion after they shouldn’t be – no matter whether or not they’re vaccinated, the assertion added.

“Event performers/marchers do not adhere to social distancing even when fully vaccinated,” in accordance to the petition.

The petition additionally questioned the necessity for NDP to be given the inexperienced mild when the Government has repeatedly urged the general public to keep at residence.

Calling for the occasion to be cancelled earlier than it turns into “the next big cluster”, the petition learn: “This public event contradicts everything the government has told their people to practice.”

The petition has garnered 30,520 signatures out of its goal 35,000 on the time of writing.

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