SINGAPORE – This year’s National Day (PND) parade will be postponed to August 21 after the last restrictions on the Covid-19 ended, the Ministry of Defense (Mindef) said on Thursday (July 22). .
The announcement came as Singapore returned to stricter measures in the second phase (intensified alert) for a month from Thursday, and is expected to run until August 18, after National Day.
A ceremonial parade will be held on August 9 to commemorate Singapore’s 56th anniversary of independence. It will be similar to the one held last year at the Padang, but will take place on the floating platform of Marina Bay, Mindef added.
The previously announced fireworks and Red Lions shows will be canceled on August 7th and 8th.
The NDP trial scheduled for July 24 and the July 31 preview have also been postponed, Mindef said.
The prime minister’s office said Thursday night that now the National Day rally will be held a week later on August 29th.
To prepare for the NDP on Aug. 21, rehearsals will be held later in smaller component groups, Mindef said, adding that their dates will not be announced to deter crowds from gathering around. of Marina Bay.
“Since 1966, the NDP has been held every year to mark Singapore’s independence. This national event brings together Singaporeans from all walks of life, as one people united to assert our unity and nationality,” Mindef said.
“This year’s changes will allow NDP 2021 to remain in safer conditions, while maintaining this cherished tradition.”
Singapore tightened restrictions for a month after the emergence of a large cluster linked to the Jurong fishing port, which has spread to more than 30 wetland markets and food centers across the island.
Among other measures during this period, dinner is not allowed in restaurants, the size of the group for social gatherings has been limited to two and people are advised to minimize social interactions.
Asked by reporters whether the NDP will continue, Finance Minister and co-chair of the Covid-19 multi-ministry working group Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday (July 20) that National Day was “no other occasion”. and the intention was to continue the parade.
But he added that Mindef was reviewing the conduct and scale of the parade and to make sure there are the necessary management measures in place for any rehearsal or pre-parade events.
The latest decision on Thursday night came after police the day before announced road closures around the floating platform, such as Raffles Avenue and Temasek Avenue, for the rehearsal of Saturday, known as Combined Essay 4. Freedom was rescinded shortly after it was sent to the media.
This year NDP is expected to be a centralized, face-to-face event on the float. Among the precautions taken, full vaccination of all participants and spectators must be required.
Performers must undergo rapid antigen testing before each rehearsal, even while rehearsals are conducted in smaller groups than in previous years, while spectators must perform pre-event testing.
The plan was for viewers to be people who have worked on the front line or in essential functions or those who stepped up in the midst of the pandemic as community volunteers, although the total number had not been announced.
Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, in the first official comments on the PND this year, had said last month that part of the reason why the PND should be held as a live event was the need to ‘learn to live with Covid-19 as an endemic disease.
Preparations and rehearsals for this year’s parade had been underway. A combined rehearsal was held on the floating platform on July 17, and the Red Lions paratroopers had made test jumps on Ghim Moh and Bishan on July 15.