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Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 68, said on Saturday that he may have to delay his plans to step down as leader by the time he is 70 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"I had expressed a hope that I would be able to hand over by the time I celebrate my 70th birthday but I do not determine the path of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Lee, son of Singapore's modern day founder Lee Kuan Yew.

"A lot will depend on how events unfold and all I can say is I will see this through and I will handover in good shape as soon as possible to the next team."

Lee's People's Action Party have ruled Singapore unbroken since independence in 1965.

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