SINGAPORE (May 3): Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing has urged companies, businesses and factories to start preparing the implementation of safe working environment measures and safe “cohorting” measures beyond work now.

This includes having social distancing measures and safe rest areas at the workplace, as well as cohorting for business continuity purposes.

Cleanliness and hygiene standards workplaces should also be stepped up, especially for the high touch sectors.

Other measures include having technology solutions to track and trace, and if necessary, conduct testing for the higher risk groups.

Beyond work, companies and management must take responsibility to advise their workers not to mix with each other.

In particular, workers from different cohorts, shifts and worksites must not mix and interact with each other.

Moreover, companies that employ foreign workers should monitor their living conditions.

These measures should be put in place when selected activities and services are expected to gradually resume operations from May 12 onwards.

“This would be critical for us because if there should be a flare-up, we can quickly isolate the group and allow the rest to continue,” Chan tells reporters this morning.

“Companies must start to prepare now,” he stresses.

According to Chan, the enhanced circuit breaker measures have reduced onsite work activity to about 17% of full capacity nationwide, thus far.

At this level, Singapore has been able to maintain its manufacturing and production operations, which are critical to the global supply chain, he says.

This is in reference to the country’s precision manufacturing, biochemical and petrochemical sectors, as well as its airport and port operations.

“We will work together with all the major companies in these sectors to make sure that this critical economic activity will continue to be available,” he says.

Chan also adds that Singapore will not impose any export bans on its products.

“We will continue to fulfil our responsibilities, not only to our own people, but also the international partners who have put faith and investment in our system,” he says.

Ultimately, Chan emphasises that it is crucial for Singapore to maintain a balance between the safety of people and the sustainable operations of economic activity.

“If there is any lapse in our focus, then we might risk a relapse of the situation or a flare up. And if so, we must have measures to detect them quickly and contain the situation,” he says.