COVID-19: False partial lockdown announcement

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This entry is a part of's coverage on the evolving COVID-19 situation in Singapore. For more COVID-19 stories, click here. For a list of COVID-19 fake news, click here.

PM Lee pictured on 3 April 2020. Photo credit to the Ministry of Communications and Information / Business Times.

On 3 April 2020, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a month-long "circuit breaker" on national television.[1][2] The stay-home measures for businesses and schools were rolled out on 7 and 8 April 2020 respectively. PM Lee has not addressed the nation since then until 21 April 2020.[3] However false news of an impending announcement on 17 April 2020 circulated on messaging channels.

A screengrab of the circulated message containing the false allegations.

Origins of the rumour

On 17 April, a rumour alleging that PM Lee would be making a COVID-19-related announcement later that day surfaced in messaging chats.[4] Not knowing that this was fake news, some individuals interpreted these measures as a "partial lockdown" to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore.[5] There were two main claims made in the message.

Claim 1: Official address by PM Lee on 17 April

The message alleged that PM Lee was scheduled to speak about the COVID-19 situation later that day (17 April).

Claim 2: "Partial lockdown" in Singapore

The details of the "partial lockdown" was stated as such:[6]

(i) Singapore would supposedly be divided into four segments - North, South, East and West. 
(ii) Residents belonging to one region would not be allowed to travel to another.
(iii) These boundaries would be enforced by military personnel. 

Claim 1: Debunked by

The first claim was promptly refuted by on their Telegram channel.[7]'s Telegram and Whatsapp channels are mediums for the government to release official updates instantly and on a larger scale. These channels are managed by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).[8] The message clearly stated that PM Lee was not addressing the public on 17 April 2020.

Politician Tan Chuan-Jin reposted's confirmation on his Facebook page and expressed his dismay over this case of fear-mongering.[9]

Claim 2: Debunked by the Ministry of Health (MOH)

The Ministry of Health debunked the second claim on their official website.[10] No such lockdown measures were announced or implemented by the Singapore government in the days following 17 April 2020.

References/ Citations

  1. "In full: PM Lee's address on enhanced measures to deal with COVID-19 situation in Singapore". Channel News Asia. April 3, 2020. Updated on 6 April 2020. Accessed on 21 April 2020.
  2. COVID-19 circuit breaker: Heightened safe-distancing measures to reduce movement”. April 3, 2020. Accessed on 20 April 2020.
  3. "PM Lee to address nation at 5pm, provide update on COVID-19 situation". Channel News Asia. April 21, 2020. Accessed on 21 April 2020.
  4. COVID-19: Rumours that PM Lee will announce tighter travel restrictions on Friday are untrue, says Government”. Channel News Asia. April 17, 2020. Accessed on 20 April 2020.
  5. Covid-19: Government debunks rumour of 'partial lockdown' in Singapore”. Today. April 17, 2020. Accessed on 20 April 2020.
  6. Yong, Clement. “Coronavirus: PM Lee 'announcement' that S'poreans can't travel beyond the area they live in is fake, says Govt”. The Straits Times. April 17, 2020. Accessed on 20 April 2020.
  7. Ng, Lucia. “Messages Of S’pore Lockdown & PM Lee’s Address Are “Completely Untrue”, Says”. MustShare News. April 17, 2020. Accessed on 20 April 2020.
  8. "GOV.SG LAUNCHES NEW CHANNELS TO KEEP THE PUBLIC INFORMED ABOUT COVID-19". Ministry of Communications and Information. April 2, 2020. Accessed on 21 April 2020.
  9. Tan Chuan-Jin. “Help share. The stuff going round is pure nonsense…”. Facebook. April 17, 2020. Accessed on 20 April 2020.
  10. CLARIFICATIONS ON MISINFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19”. Ministry of Health. April 17, 2020. Accessed on 20 April 2020.