Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Parliament: Dorscon level to remain at orange; Singapore not safe until world is safe, says Gan Kim Yong

SINGAPORE – The Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level will continue to remain at orange until the global situation improves, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in Parliament on Monday (Oct 5).

He was responding to a question on whether the Government would review Singapore’s Dorscon level, given the significant drop in the number of daily local cases in recent weeks.

The Dorscon system is a colour-coded framework that provides people here with general guidelines on what needs to be done during a disease situation.

The Republic’s Dorscon level has been at orange since Feb 7 following a rise in unlinked local Covid-19 cases at the time.

According to guidelines by the Ministry of Health (MOH), this indicates that the disease is severe and spreads easily from person to person, but has not spread widely in Singapore and is being contained.

Moderate disruptions to daily life are to be expected at this level, such as temperature screenings, quarantine orders and visitor restrictions at hospitals.

On the other hand, Dorscon yellow – the tier below orange – could mean that the disease is severe and spreads easily between people but is occurring outside of Singapore, or that it is spreading in Singapore but is either mild, or being contained.

Minimal disruptions are to be expected at this level, such as additional measures at the borders and healthcare settings.

The MOH has said that the Dorscon categories are not cast in stone, but are general guidelines for action.

Earlier in the pandemic, “orange” measures such as quarantine and temperature screening were implemented while the Dorscon level was still at yellow.

Singapore has recently seen the number of new cases in the community drop to an average of about less than one to two a week.

But Mr Gan also pointed out that the Dorscon level is not determined by the number of cases alone.

“At this moment particularly, we have to be very mindful that while the number of cases in Singapore is low, the cases around us in other parts of the world are still rising. So therefore we cannot let our guard down. I would continue to maintain Dorscon orange for the time being until we’re quite confident that the global situation is under control,” he said.

He noted that Singapore is a hub city and needs to open its borders and encourage people to travel so that its status as a travel and business hub do not get undermined.

But he added: “Until the world is safe, we will not be safe. Therefore we have to continue to maintain the Dorscon level and keep our guard up so that we can continue to keep the number of cases low, especially in the community.”

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