His comments came one day after biotech company Moderna announced that trials show its vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19. Pfizer last week said its vaccine is more than 90% effective.Wong, who is also the country’s education minister, said the developments were positive, but there’s still “a long way to go” before the safety and efficacy of the vaccines are ensured. They will then need to be distributed and it will take time for a sufficient number of people to be vaccinated, he added. We really need all of these to come together – vaccines, testing, safe distancing, contact tracing.- Advertisement – People wearing face masks as a precaution walking along Orchard Road, a famous shopping district in Singapore.Maverick Asio | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images Lawrence WongSingapore’s minister for education Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are currently considered the most accurate in detecting coronavirus infections, but can take a long time to return results.“Developing new rapid tests that are cheaper, simpler, easier to administer, that’s very important to ensure more comprehensive testing,” said Wong.He added that simple precautions such as wearing masks, keeping social gatherings small and maintaining safe distances are “highly effective” in keeping the infection under control.“We really need all of these to come together – vaccines, testing, safe distancing, contact tracing,” he said.Third phase of reopeningAsked when Singapore would enter the third stage of its reopening, the minister said the conditions have to be right.“This is like … a fire that has just been put out. The embers are still around, and it only takes a small spark to get the fire raging again,” he said. SINGAPORE – A coronavirus vaccine won’t be the silver bullet to end the pandemic, the co-chair of Singapore’s Covid-19 task force said this week despite “promising” news from pharmaceutical companies.“We’re certainly encouraged by it, it’s very promising, but I would say also that the vaccine is not a silver bullet to end the pandemic,” Lawrence Wong told “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday. “We should not put all our eggs into the vaccine basket.”- Advertisement – Singapore went into a partial lockdown in April and has reopened its economy in phases since June. Phase two started in mid-June.“When can we get to phase three? I’ve emphasized this, that it’s not about rushing into phase three, but making sure that we do it right,” Wong said.Singapore is likely to allow bigger social gatherings and increase capacity limits for public venues such as museums in the next step of reopening.The minister outlined three factors that need to be in place and where the country stands:Effective testing capabilities“On testing metrics, we are doing quite well,” Wong said. The country has reached its target capacity of 40,000 tests a day and is continuing to deploy both PCR tests and rapid antigen tests.Continued vigilance in the community “For the large part, I think we’re doing well,” the minister said, noting that there are occasional cases of people breaching the rules. He added that this is an ongoing measure of Singapore’s “continued cooperation and compliance.”Contact tracing abilitiesAround 50% of the population has downloaded the TraceTogether app or is using a token that allows Singapore to identify people who have been in close contact with confirmed coronavirus cases. “We aim to get that to around 70% or higher, and we think we can get there by the end of the year,” Wong said. “Perhaps it will take a bit longer, but that’s the current timeframe that we’re working on.”“We will do our darndest to go through phase 3, resume activities progressively without having to enter into another circuit breaker or lockdown,” he said. “I don’t think anyone wants to go through that again.” “We should not look only at vaccines,” he said. “We really need all the tools at our disposal, and that includes testing – having more effective ways of testing beyond the ‘gold standard’ of the PCR test.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –
Jeremy Thornton won the Saturday main event for IMCA Modifieds at Central Arizona Speedway. (Photo courtesy of Central Arizona Speedway)By Jeff McSpaddenCASA GRANDE, Ariz. (May 19) – Jeremy Thornton was the IMCA Modified star Saturday at Central Arizona Speedway.Starting seventh in the sixteen car IMCA Modified field, Thornton quickly made his way into the fourth spot diving low on the speedway entering turns one and two after the drop of the green flag, sixth starting Trevor Miller also made a bold move into the second spot behind pole starter and early leader, Mike Strobl.Trevor Miller drove by Mike Strobl for the lead on lap two while Thornton was working his way up from seventh starting to third. Thornton made quick work of Strobl for the runner up position and set out after Miller.Taking advantage of a lap five restart, Thornton pulled even with Miller and edged ahead as the sixth lap was scored. Thornton got a great jump on the next restart and began to put some distance between himself and Miller, with Tyler Mecl climbing into the third position.Thornton’s advantage of better than a second held up until the caution waved again with two laps left. Another yellow set up a one-lap dash to the finish and Thornton held his line to win ahead of throughout the remainder of the last lap and crossed the finish line just .737 seconds ahead of Miller and Mecl.