By Pizaro Gozali

JAKARTA (AA) – Singapore on Tuesday gradually reopened businesses as the country’s coronavirus restrictions formally ended.

Earlier, the authorities unveiled a plan to reopen the economy in three phases over the next several months starting on June 2.

The country imposed “circuit breaker” restrictions on April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Lo said the number of daily new cases has dropped significantly and most of the patients have recovered. However, Lee asked people to stay alert.

“I know many of you are looking forward to meet your friends at school or visit your parents and grandparents, but we have to remain cautious and vigilant,” the premier said in a statement released on Monday night.

Lee also asked the public to wear masks whenever they go outside and wash their hands regularly.

“We should avoid crowds and gatherings in the meantime. We must commit if we want everything to return to normal,” he added.

The Health Ministry announced in late May that businesses with lower transmission risks may resume activities during the first phase.

They include manufacturing and production facilities in the semiconductor, medical technology and aerospace sectors, as well as wholesale trade and finance companies.

School bookstores and retail shops selling school uniforms can also resume business in order to support the reopening of schools.

All other retail outlets will remain closed until further notice apart from those that have already been given approval to operate.

In addition, weddings will be allowed, although the number of attendees will be capped at 10.

Singapore has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia. As of Tuesday, the country reported 35,836 cases, while the death toll remained at 24.

*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta.

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