It was just a matter of time before Singapore’s commitment to live with Covid-19 would be tested. The only surprise is how quickly that moment came and how avoidable it was.  

On Friday, Singapore announced it would tighten certain social-distancing measures and ramp up contact tracing and testing to contain a cluster that started at a karaoke lounge. The Ministry of Health said the outbreak will delay reopening plans, which could be rolled back significantly if virus numbers surge. 

The announcement came just days after a range of restrictions had eased, and weeks after the government announced its intention to shift from a “Zero Covid” strategy to what the ministry called a “new normal.” For risk-averse Singapore, it promised to be a significant step, focusing on the number of severe cases rather than total infections, as vaccination rates steadily climb.

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