SINGAPORE: This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) on August 9 will take place with a centralized physical event and spectators at The Float @ Marina Bay, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said Monday (June 28).
The number of attendees and spectators will be “scaled down appropriately,” said Dr. Ng, adding that the final figure will be decided later.
Spectators over the age of 12 who are eligible for the national vaccination program must be fully vaccinated before attending the event. They will also need to undergo pre-event COVID-19 testing.
All participants were also vaccinated against the coronavirus and are routinely tested before each trial in separate groups. There will be only one preview show before the main event.
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“There will be the usual combined parade and show, there will also be activities in the heart, which the NDP Committee will share,” Dr Ng told reporters ahead of Singapore Armed Forces Day (SAF) on Thursday.
“Let me just say that we are moving forward with a physical performance, a physical NDP, not like last year. It will be centralized ».
Last year’s NDP was split into a morning show at Padang and an evening show at Star Vista, with a drastically reduced number of people involved in line with COVID-19 measures.
The morning show featured a reduced parade with around 150 spectators, while the evening show also had an audience of 150. Fewer than 300 participants were involved in both segments.
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NDP in the pre-pandemic years usually draws tens of thousands of spectators.
Dr Ng revealed some of the ideas behind organizing a physical event this year, calling 9 August an “appropriate opportunity” to transition to a new normal of coexistence with endemic COVID-19.
“By August 9, with the cooperation of Singaporeans, we hope that at least two-thirds of the population have received their second dose,” he said, noting that vaccinated participants and spectators “greatly reduce the risk.”
“With proper security measures, it will be safe enough for us to conduct a physical NDP on the floating platform and I hope the Singaporeans will provide us with support.”
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When asked about elements of the show such as fireworks and the potential for crowding, Dr. Ng said “we need Singaporeans to do their part”.
“It is best to watch from the comfort and safety of their homes. Don’t crowd it and I think there will be administrators and ambassadors at a safe distance on the ground to help enforce, “he added.
“But the new normal also means that Singaporeans must take their own measures to protect themselves and especially if they are not vaccinated.”
Dr Ng advised those who are not vaccinated to watch heart activity at home and avoid crowds as “it’s not as safe”.
“If you are vaccinated, it doesn’t mean you don’t take any safety measures, but the risk for you is less,” he added.
Dr. Ng also asked Singaporeans to understand if this year’s show is “not as well prepared” as in previous years, given the shorter preparation times due to changing scenarios during COVID-19.
“We hope the NDP will give us a broader perspective because it has been a difficult year, a year and a half, and I think with the support and help of the Singaporeans, I think we can achieve it,” he added.