Singapore to close most workplaces, shift to online classes

SINGAPORE (3rd UPDATE) – Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Friday, April 3, that the country is set to close most workplaces and shift to online classes as part of moves to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus

In his 3rd national address on COVID-19, Lee said the closure of workplaces will take effect starting Tuesday, April 7, while the shift to online classes will begin on Wednesday, April 8.

“The spirit of these measures is to get all of us to minimize physical contact. If we don’t go out, if we avoid contact with others, then the virus won’t be able to spread. It’s as simple as that,” Lee said.

Lee said essential services and key economic sectors – such as food establishments, supermarkets, hospitals, transportation facilities, and key banking services – will remain open.

The Singaporean leader also said the country will “tighten restrictions on movements and gatherings of people.” 

He urged Singaporeans to stay at home as much as possible, refrain from socializing with people beyond one’s own household, avoid visiting extended families not staying with them, and go out only for essential needs.

Singapore has had 1,049 cases of COVID-19, including 5 deaths, as of Thursday, April 2. 

Of the country’s number of COVID-19 cases, 266 people have fully recovered, 23 remain in critical condition, while others remain in the hospital, mostly stable and improving as of Thursday. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at