Udayavni Special

Singapore celebrates 56th National Day with scaled down celebrations

PTI, Aug 9, 2021, 11:39 AM IST

Singapore: Singapore on Monday marked the 56th Independence Day with a scaled-down celebration amid tightened public health measures to control the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

The full-scale National Day Parade and celebration is to be held on August 21.

Monday’s ceremony was within the heightened alert on safety measures against COVID-19.

The Marina Bay Floating Platform hosted around 100 spectators – including Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, and frontline workers – much lower than the 27,000 people that the venue can typically accommodate.

The sparkling bay also formed the backdrop for 600 parade participants from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and uniformed groups – a figure less than a third of what previous parades at The Float have seen.

These reduced headcounts were among a slew of safety measures taken amid a protracted battle against COVID-19, reported the Channel News Asia.

At the ceremonial parade, an iconic part of National Day celebrations, a video montage of the parade participants kicked off proceedings.

Singapore became an independent state on August 9, 1965, following separation from Malaysia.

As contingents marched onto the floating platform under the blazing morning sun, they were – for the first time – joined by 200 participants virtually.

These included members of uniformed groups from nine secondary schools, as well as 12 social and economic organizations.

President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong led the celebration from the floating platform in the Marina Bay in the central business district.

Singapore has so far reported 65,686 COVID-19 cases with 42 deaths.

From Tuesday, the country will embark on the first stage of this four-step reopening of the economy, dubbed the ”preparatory stage.”

This phase will see some easing of travel restrictions, with Singapore resuming entry for fully vaccinated work-pass holders and their dependents as well as allowing a group of five vaccinated people to dine in among others.

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