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Singapore’s annual patriotic party has been pushed back in the face of deepening pandemic woe. 

Under some public pressure to cancel the annual festivities, the Ministry of Defence last night announced that the National Day Parade set for Aug. 9 at The Float @ Marina Bay would instead be postponed to Aug. 21, after the latest reimposed restrictions are set to expire. 

“This national event brings together Singaporeans from all walks of life, as one united people to affirm our unity and nationhood. The changes this year will enable NDP 2021 to be held in safer conditions, while maintaining that cherished tradition,” the ministry said.

The decision came just days after officials insisted the show would go on following a review of safety protocols. The event had been set to return to Marina Bay with seats saved for fully vaccinated frontliners and essential workers. There was no mention in yesterday’s announcement whether spectators would still be allowed as originally planned.

Instead of showcasing all the performances and public pomp, a ceremonial parade featuring all the battalion pomp and the president similar to the one last year at Padang will be held.

The usual festivities such as the fireworks display and the free-falls done by parachutists from the Red Lions announced to be held on National Day weekend will be canceled, same for the rehearsal and preview shows planned at the end of this month.

The annual rally speech given by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will also be delayed to Aug. 29, the Prime Minister’s Office last night.

Rehearsals going forward will consist of smaller groups, but dates won’t be announced to discourage spectators from gathering as seen at Marina Bay in recent weeks. 

“To prepare for the NDP on 21 August, rehearsals will be conducted later in smaller component groups. Their dates will not be announced, so as to discourage crowds from gathering around Marina Bay,” the ministry said.

Since Sunday, over 39,000 people and counting have signed the petition to cancel the parade following news of more outbreaks and soaring infections.

The parade has been held annually on the day of since 1966. This is the first time the ceremony has been postponed, not even in 2003 when the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, hit the nation. 

Singapore yesterday recorded 170 cases with the majority linked to the Jurong Fishery Port. More food centers and markets have been shut. In total, the nation recorded 63,791 infections and 36 deaths.

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This article, Singapore’s National Day postponed: MINDEF, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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