Singapore Imposes Longest Lockdown In The World As Outbreak Comes Roaring Back: Live Updates

Tuesday, April 21, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 04/21/2020


Singapore extends lockdown until end of June, longest in the world
Demonstrators fill the streets of Paris
Yonhap denies reports that NK’s KJU is dying
Georgia, Tennessee & South Carolina unveil plans to start reopening economies by Tuesday
Gottlieb says true # of US cases likely “10x higher” than official total
Global case total hovering just below 2.5 million
US cases near 800k, with deaths passing 170k
* * *

Update (0730ET): Last night, just as Georgia Gov Brian Kemp was beginning his Monday press briefing, the conservative Republican made an announcement that instantly horrified the mainstream media: The state would begin loosening some lockdown restrictions on Friday, and that by Monday, businesses from gyms to beauty salons in his state would be allowed to reopen.

Hundreds of talking heads immediately pointed out that the state is hardly on track to meet the guidelines set out by the White House. But by Tuesday morning, several additional states, including Tennessee and South Carolina, had joined Georgia in planning to begin lifting restrictions before May 1.

As new hotspots continue to form across the country, including in Ohio, Michigan and other states that appear to be headed toward reopening in a few weeks, these states have made the calculation that the damage to their economies simply isn’t worth the risk to life and health. Georgians will be able to dine in restaurants again by the end of the day on Monday.

Some states are flinging the doors back open. In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee said he had opted not to extend his “safer-at-home” order that is set to expire on April 30. According to Lee, “the vast majority of businesses in 89 counties” will be allowed to reopen on May 1. Businesses in Ohio are expected to reopen on that date as well.

Others are taking a slightly more measured approach. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster will allow some retail businesses, including department stores, that had previously been labeled “nonessential” would be allowed to reopen on Tuesday. But even after opening, they must abide by social distancing guidelines, the governor said. Residents will also be able to access the state’s beaches on Tuesday.

Ohio Gov.Mike DeWine said on “Meet the Press” that he would move to “try and open this economy…[without getting] a lot of people killed,” though he didn’t give an exact date, it has been reported that the process will begin next month.

While the global case total hovered slightly below 2.5 million, as of 8amET, Johns Hopkins had tallied 787,960 cases of the virus in the US (while some estimates have put the true total infected at closer to 5 million). As we pointed out Sunday night, recent signs suggest that the lockdowns have worked to flatten the curve: In the US, daily new cases are down 33% from the peak 10 days ago. 6% of the US counties have reported zero new cases in the past 7 days. And 7 states have announced plans to start reopening in the next two weeks, equivalent to roughly one-fifth of GDP.

Speaking on “Squawk Box” Tuesday morning, former FDA Director Scott Gottlieb said “it might be possible” that 1 million people have been exposed to the virus in metro New York (meaning NYC alone; that’s roughly 1/9 people), the latest suggestion that the US mortality rate is much lower than the official numbers reflect – one more reason for governors to move ahead with reopening.

If you’re wondering what the situation is in your state, here’s a roundup of what

Before we go, we just wanted to highlight this tweet from the Federalist’s Sean Davis.

Just some food for thought.

* * *

After a day of historic insanity in the American oil market, the Brent international oil benchmark is down more than 40% already Tuesday morning as investors continue to digest reports from late last night that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might be in critical condition (a Trump Administration source said ‘yes’ while South Korea’s Yonhap said ‘no’) and a Tweet from President Trump that he would be “suspending” immigration into the US due to the coronavirus. The news prompted a whipsaw in equity futures late last night.

While liberals lose their minds, it’s worth remembering that immigration into the US is already effectively shut down. Refugee resettlement has been put on hold, visa offices have been shuttered, and citizenship ceremonies have been put on hold. CNN said it’s unclear how this will impact green-card holders.

Meanwhile, in the latest indication that nobody really knows what’s going to happen with this outbreak, Singapore announced just minutes ago that it will extend its mandatory stay-at-home order until June, making Singapore’s lockdown the longest currently on record.

Singapore’s Straits Times reported that, in a televised national address, Singapore’s leader PM Lee Hsien Loong said that after yet another record jump in new cases – an outbreak that has been tied to camps of migrant workers who represent a ‘forgotten class’ in Singapore society – his government has decided to extend the densely-populated city-state’s lockdown for another month until June, making Singapore’s the longest lockdown extension in the world.

In addition to extending the lockdown, Singapore is paring down the number of ‘essential’ businesses allowed to remain open, in effect ratcheting up the pressure on its economy.

The city-state reported another 625 new cases on Tuesday, bringing its total case number to 7,213 according to BNO News, in a country of 5.7 million.

While Lee insisted that Singapore’s ‘circuit breaker’ – don’t call it a lockdown – has been effective at suppressing the spread, Lee stressed that Singapore cannot be complacent, and that the number of “unlinked” cases has been stubbornly high, suggesting a “hidden reservoir” of cases in the community still.

Singapore was praised for its rapid and intense methods to combat the outbreak, rolled out back in February when the virus first started to spread outside Wuhan and mainland China. Among its toolkit was a protocol that required a team of investigators to trace contacts of newly positive patients within 2 hours to prevent further spread.

If you’re curious about how Singapore went from poster-child of effective virus response to one of the worst-hit countries in Asia ex-China, the WSJ can explain.

The virus found a blind spot: migrant workers. Hundreds of thousands of workers from Bangladesh, India and other countries live in dormitories, often 10 to 20 people to one room. They climb into packed vans on their way to build the city’s gleaming office towers and condominiums.

More than three-quarters of Singapore’s 9,125 cases now come from dormitories. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an address Tuesday that the clusters in these facilities had remained “largely contained” and not spread to the wider community. Authorities were working to detect any transmission from dormitories to populations outside them early, he said.

Mr. Lee said Singapore’s lockdown – which began earlier this month and was intended to last four weeks – would be extended by four weeks beyond that, until June 1. The list of essential services allowed to remain open would be pared down, he said, to further reduce the risk of transmission among workers who keep these going.

But the big flaw was that Singapore overlooked the densely populated camps of migrant workers who typically fill the lowest level of jobs in Singaporean society. The second round of Singapore’s outbreak has been largely centered around these camps, with thousands of migrant workers becoming infected.

During Lee’s fourth national address to the nation since the virus emerged, the PM explained that the current measures would remain in place until May 4, at which time the city-state will start trying to slowly reopen society, using some of the same cautious criteria adopted by New Zealand and Germany.

To accomplish this, workplaces will be closed to further reduce the number of workers keeping essential services going. Some hot spots, such as popular wet markets, remain a problem, as large groups of people continue to congregate there, Lee said.

Lee noted that while there will be some “privacy concerns”, ramping up contact tracing via the “TraceTogether” contact tracing app – which all residents of Singapore have been asked to download – is a critical priority for the government as it moves to stamp out the virus.

“There will be some privacy concerns, but we will have to weigh these against the benefits of being able to exit from the circuit breaker and stay open safely.”

And as far as migrant workers are concerned, Lee promised that “we will take care of you like we take care of Singaporeans.”

Roughly one-fifth of the world, led by India, is starting the painful process of reopening. And countries that are refusing to start lifting some restrictions are facing growing unrest, including in France, where protesters poured into the streets of Paris to protest the lockdown and alleged mistreatment of minorities under lockdown conditions.

Leave a Reply

Join the revolution in 2018. Revolution Radio is 100% volunteer ran. Any contributions are greatly appreciated. God bless!

Follow us on Twitter