Singapore to relax Covid restrictions as vaccination rate increases

A poster reminding people to keep a safe distance from each other can be seen at the Singapore National Gallery on March 30, 2020.

Ore Huiying | Getty Images News | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – The Singapore government said on Friday that it will start releasing Covid-19 measures next week as the proportion of people vaccinated increases.

The government has reviewed Covid measures several times since May because of an increase in locally transmitted infections – many caused by the more transmissible delta variant. The country enforced the latest measures on July 22 by banning lunches and limiting social gatherings.

Singapore Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the number of daily cases has stabilized since the latest restrictions were imposed. During this time, the share of people receiving two doses of Covid vaccine has gone from about 40% to 67% since Thursday.

“We have prevented an uncontrollable growth of infections, serious illnesses and deaths,” he told reporters Ong, who co-chairs the country’s Covid working group.

Singapore has one of the fastest vaccination programs in the world. Ong said the proportion of fully vaccinated people would rise by around 70% by Monday, when the country celebrates National Day.

But given that an “important” part of the population is not yet fully vaccinated, the government will implement differentiated social rules based on the vaccination status of people, said Gan Kim Yong, minister of trade and industry. and co-chair of the coronavirus task force.

Differentiated Covid sizes

From Tuesday next week, the size of the social meeting groups will be relaxed from two to five people. But the government has “encouraged” those who are not vaccinated to keep groups of two.

Dinner at food and beverage establishments will be allowed for groups of up to five people if all are vaccinated at all or have a negative Covid test in the last 24 hours. But eating in open-air food centers and cafes are allowed only for groups of up to two people, regardless of vaccination status.

The Singapore government has also announced some loosening of restrictions on borders.

From Tuesday, Singapore will allow the entry of more fully vaccinated work pass holders and their employees. And as of Aug. 20, fully vaccinated travelers from selected countries – including Australia, Canada, Germany and South Korea – can serve a mandatory quarantine at home.

“We are now in a stronger position to pick up with our reopening journey, but in a prudent and calibrated manner,” Gan said.

The government has said it will relax further measures around the beginning of September when 80% of the population is expected to be fully vaccinated.

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