Singapore will close schools starting from Wednesday as authorities warned new coronavirus strains like the ones detected in India were affecting primarily children.
After months of near-zero cases in Singapore, the government has tightened restrictions after a recent rise in local transmissions.
At a virtual press conference held on Sunday, the authorities announced that primary and secondary schools and also junior colleges would shift to full home-based learning. This would be starting from Wednesday and will continue until the end of the school term on May 28, reported NDTV.
Singapore on Sunday reported 38 locally transmitted coronavirus cases. This is the highest daily count recorded in the past eight months. Some of the cases reported also involved children linked to a cluster at a tuition centre.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, referring to a conversation he had with the ministry's director of medical services Kenneth Mak, told at a news conference that the B.1.617 strain "appears to affect children more".
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said at the news conference that some of these mutations are much more virulent, and they seem to attack the younger children.
However, among the reported cases, none of the children who had been infected were found to be seriously ill.
According to a Facebook post by Chan, the government is "working out the plans" to vaccinate students under the age of 16.
For controlling the spread of infection, Singapore has limited public gatherings to two, banned restaurant dine-ins and closed gyms.
Apart from taking these steps, the concerned authorities have also banned non-passengers from entering the airport terminal. They have also closed an adjacent mall as around 9,000 workers undergo testing.
Last year, Singapore had to fight serious coronavirus outbreaks when the reported cases surged through crowded dormitories housing low-paid foreign workers.