The Social and Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Mitigation Measures on Citizens and Permanent Residents During the Circuit Breaker Period in Singapore

Organisation: NTS, RSIS

Authors: Patrick Daly, Caroline Brassard, Jamie McCaughey, Reuben Ng, Laavanya Kathiravelu, Benjamin Horton
Research Themes:
Health security
Type: NTS Insight
10 August 2021



The Singapore government instituted a set of ‘Circuit Breaker’ (CB) measures in April 2020 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These included restricting international travel, closing non-essential businesses, telecommuting, home-based learning, wearing faces masks in public spaces, temperature screening, rigorous contract tracing, and isolating infected and exposed persons. The COVID-19 CB measures helped the government control COVID-19 transmission in Singapore but disrupted economic and social life. This NTS Insight presents data from a representative survey on the social and economic impacts of Singapore’s COVID-19 mitigation measures during the CB period on Singaporean citizens and permanent residents from 7 May to 16 July 2020. Our results show that the top three cited disruptions caused by the CB were all social in nature. However, just under half of all respondents reported some form of direct economic disruption – while up to 80% of respondents expressed concerns about their longer-term financial situation. Finally, our disaggregated analysis shows that some of the negative impacts of the CB period disproportionately impacted potentially vulnerable segments of the population.