Strong action against errant joints, but some playing ‘cat and mouse’ game, Health News & Top Stories

Law enforcement agencies have worked hard to protect Singapore and destroy facilities that continue to breach Covid-19’s safe management measures, but some of those compounds have been playing a game of cat and mouse.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministerial task force to fight Covid-19, said the government would enforce the rules and take decisive action against anyone who breaks the rules.

“I assure you that the law enforcement agencies are overworked, they work 24/7 following every lead they get, but the illegal activity has not stopped.

“You go further and we will continue to do our best to make sure that all enforcement efforts are made,” said Mr. Wong.

He was asked if more enforcement action could have been taken to prevent the KTV outlets and nightclub cluster, which grew to 120 cases yesterday.

This is not the first time a coronavirus cluster has formed here related to nightlife facilities.

In December last year, it was reported that behind closed shop fronts inside the Golden Mile Complex there were illegal gatherings where people interacted without wearing masks or following safe management procedures.

And last August, six men and four women were fined between $ 4,000 and $ 8,000 for violating Covid-19 measures by having an illegal social gathering at a retail unit in the Golden Mile Tower.

Mr Wong said that enforcement actions are not just focusing on places like KTV outlets and nightclubs. Illegal gatherings also took place in hotels, apartments, restaurants and warehouses.

When asked if more enforcement officers will be hired to ensure continued compliance with safe management measures, Mr Wong said that enforcement agencies had already been topped up by safe distancing ambassadors.

These ambassadors are a first line of detection, he said, after which law enforcement agencies can step in to take action.

“But you can understand that every time you do an enforcement check, there is a bit of a cat and mouse going on because the enforcement officers walk in … the people who break the rules will be on their guard, they see someone comes and then they can start to adapt and respond accordingly, “said Mr. Wong.

He added that catching those who broke the rules will take different approaches.

While the agencies will continue to enforce the rules, Mr Wong said that everyone in Singapore must do their part and not break the rules. Otherwise it will be a never-ending spiral.

“Law enforcement agencies have to do more and more bad behavior and we do more and more and it never stops,” added Mr. Wong, noting that a single irresponsible act can have devastating effects on the entire community.

“Please do your part. And if you know of anyone breaking the rules, let us know.”