JAKARTA, Indonesia

Singapore’s prime minister said on Thursday 250,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine as the country has vaccinated most frontline and essential workers, and are now vaccinating senior citizens.

In his Chinese New Year message posted by his office, Lee Hsien Loong said the provided vaccine supplies come in as scheduled and the government should be able to offer vaccinations to the whole population within this year.

“I strongly encourage everyone to take the vaccine when it is your turn. Vaccination protects ourselves, and our loved ones,” said Lee.

The prime minister said people can look forward to more carefree Chinese New Year celebrations when the pandemic is over.

“I thank everyone for your continued support for the tough restrictions the government has had to implement. COVID-19 has forced us to scale down and adapt our family gatherings and New Year visits,” he said.

During the long holiday, Singapore authorities allow visits to two other households with a maximum of eight visitors daily.

Lee noted that stricter measures are necessary as the virus is still spreading rapidly around the world.

“This January, we saw the new waves of infection caused by year-end celebrations in many countries, where many people gathered and let their guard down,” he added.

Singapore has so far reported nearly 60,000 COVID-19 cases, including 29 deaths and more than 59,000 recoveries.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta

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