(Apr 3): Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will speak to the nation at 4 pm local time, saying the situation in the city-state “is under control, but we want to take a few more steps now.”

Lee, in a Facebook post previewing the remarks, said Singapore has responded to the crisis calmly and systematically, planning ahead and adjusting as the situation has changed. He sought to reassure the city-state that “our food supply is secure and adequate,” warning against hoarding supplies. “Let’s stay calm and united during this challenging period.”

Local supermarket chain Fairprice is seeing more people at its stores, and also increased buying today, according to its group chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng in his Facebook post on Friday. “There is no need to rush to buy today or for that matter this weekend as ALL our stores will remain open come what may,” he said.

Upon hearing the news that Lee will address the nation live in the afternoon, the first assumption that crossed 62-year-old housewife Zaiton Ismail’s mind was that Singapore’s going into lockdown. Ten minutes later, she was out of her apartment, rushing to a convenience store five minutes from her home to buy essentials like oil, sugar, rice, frozen food to stock up.

“If it’s just me living alone it’s fine, but I have four mouths to feed including my husband and three children. So, we need to have a good supply at home.”

Fifth Death, Measures

Singapore reported its fifth coronavirus-related death on Friday, as the government said the total number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to 1,049.

Singapore has gradually escalated restrictions in recent weeks, including shutting bars and limiting who can enter the country. The government is compelling businesses to let employees work from home if possible. However the island financial capital has resisted some more stringent measures, such as school closures and locking down the city.

In a March 12 speech, Lee warned there might need to be additional social distancing if Singapore saw a spike in cases. Among the options he mentioned at the time were suspending schools temporarily or mandatory telework. The prime minister did not provide additional details in his Facebook or Twitter comments previewing the speech about what “few more steps” he would outline in his next remarks.

President Halimah Yacob said in a Facebook post on Friday that the country’s health care system is well prepared to manage the crisis, though every Singaporean needs to be on board with the government’s efforts. “The success of our effort really depends on the will, forbearance and tenacity of our people. So we cannot be the weakest link in the chain,” she said. “If we don’t step up our individual efforts to keep the virus away, all the other measures will be compromised too.”