A full reopening of Singapore ’s economy could happen earlier than expected if there is not a spike in daily coronavirus infections after the city state begins a phased lifting of its “ circuit breaker ” lockdown measures from June 2. Phase one – which will see three-quarters of the economy, including hairdressers, chiropractors and physiotherapists reopening as residents are able to visit their parents’ and grandparents’ homes – was initially supposed to last four weeks, but National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said at a virtual press conference on Thursday that the process could be expedited if the infection rate remains “low and stable” for the first two weeks of the month. As Singapore hits 30,000 infections, circuit breaker takes its toll on residents “If all goes well, phase two can indeed proceed before the end of June,” said Wong, who also heads a multi-ministry task force into the coronavirus. This phase would see Singapore residents again able to dine-in at restaurants, visit gyms and shop at malls, though only in groups no bigger than five people – a number that might be increased if the virus appears to be under control. Entertainment outlets such as bars and clubs and “higher risk activities” such as religious services and conferences, however, will not reopen until after consultation with the authorities on the implementation of safety measures. “We thought it would be useful to share with Singaporeans, to give everyone a clearer sense of what to expect over the coming weeks,” Wong said. When asked if there was a specific number of infections that authorities would base their decision on, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said it was “not just a numbers game”. He said it would depend on a variety of indicators such as the nature of infection clusters, whether case numbers were stable or increasing quickly and if they were happening within high risk populations. Singapore on Thursday reported 373 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally to 33,249 so far. All the new infections involved migrant workers , who mostly live in dormitories tucked away from the general population. There were no new cases reported among citizens or permanent residents. How did migrant worker dorms become Singapore’s biggest coronavirus cluster? Also announced on Thursday was the relaxing of criteria for discharging Covid-19 patients based on new scientific evidence, with those who are assessed to be “clinically well” 21 days after the first onset of their illness to be discharged without further tests. Patients discharged under the new criteria will have to remain at home for a further seven days before being able to return to work, however. Previously, patients had to test negative for the virus twice before being discharged. Meanwhile, talk of a Singapore’s next general election is hotting up with Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat – the presumptive successor to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – telling local media it was coming “nearer by the day”. “The sooner we get it done, the earlier we can rally everybody together to deal with these very significant challenges ahead, and also to deal with these very significant uncertainties in the months and years ahead,” Heng, who is also finance minister, told CNA on Wednesday. Earlier, the release of the election boundary report on March 13 had fuelled speculation that the general election was just around the corner, but that talk quietened down as Singapore’s infection numbers began to balloon in April. The Workers’ Party, Singapore’s only opposition party with seats in parliament, reacted to Heng’s remarks on Thursday, asking for details on how parties can campaign given the pandemic. Contesting parties should know the ground rules as soon as possible The Workers' Party of Singapore Heng has said the election will be conducted in a manner that is “different from before”, but the Workers’ Party said in a statement that there was “a distinct lack of clarity as to precisely how campaigning will be modified”. It said the uncertainty means political parties risk “squandering resources and expenditures” and that while it has been stated that live-streaming may be employed, it is unclear if there will be regulations about the content and format of the videos. “In addition, with elections ‘coming nearer by the day’, the window of time to find suitable suppliers for services is narrowing,” it said. “Contesting parties should know the ground rules as soon as possible, in order to be well-prepared to offer Singaporean voters their best efforts at the polls.” Earlier this month, Singapore passed laws for temporary arrangements that will apply to the next election, allowing voters who are on stay-home notices because of coronavirus to vote outside their normal electoral divisions. Aspiring candidates also need not be present in person during nomination proceedings if they are ill or under a quarantine or subject to a stay-home order. 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