SINGAPORE, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he strongly encourages everyone to take the vaccine when it is his or her turn, when delivering the Chinese New Year Message 2021 on Thursday.
"Vaccination protects ourselves, and our loved ones," he said. "Furthermore, if enough of us are vaccinated, our population will have herd immunity."
Lee said that Singapore has gone all out to control the spread of COVID-19 virus, treat the infected, and prevent its healthcare system from being overwhelmed, even at great economic cost. Because of this tremendous effort, Singapore's COVID-19 situation has now stabilized.
"We have restarted most of our economy, and are cautiously resuming cross-border travel," the prime minister said. "As we welcome the Year of the Ox, we can look back and give thanks that we have come through the Year of the Rat, not without trouble, but relatively unscathed."
He said that the Year of the Ox brings new hope. Vaccines are now available. Countries with serious outbreaks, which have started mass vaccinations, have begun to bring down their new cases. In Singapore, 250,000 people have received their first dose of the vaccine.
Lee said that Singapore has vaccinated most frontline and essential workers, and is now vaccinating the seniors, starting with those over 70.
"Provided vaccine supplies come in as scheduled, we should be able to offer vaccinations to our whole population within this year," he said.