Household members can go out in groups of more than 2 for 'essential activities': Ong Ye Kung
SINGAPORE: Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Saturday (May 15) said that family members staying together can go out as a group for "essential activities" and need not limit the size of their group to two people.
Such activities include going to school or attending medical appointments, he said.
Mr Ong made the comments in a Facebook post addressing “top questions” raised as Singapore prepares to move into Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from Sunday until Jun 13.
"Yes, we could have been clearer," he said, addressing a question on whether members of the same household can go out in groups of more than two people.
“They can also go out together as a family unit to take care of their elderly relatives, like their grandparents,” wrote Mr Ong, as he marked his first day in his new role as health minister.
“For grocery shopping, do try to keep to two as this minimises your family’s exposure to the virus.”
Singapore on Friday afternoon announced tighter COVID-19 restrictions amid a rise in recent community infections, including reducing the size of group gatherings to two from five and suspending dining-in at food and beverage outlets.
In a reply to media queries late on Friday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that it was "prepared to be flexible" in the implementation of the group size rule.
“We recognise that there may be occasions where members of the same household may need to move about in groups larger than two persons, especially those with young children or elderly parents in order to look after their higher care needs,” MOH said.
“These may include taking public transport, going for medical appointments, attending classes or going to work in the same vehicle.
“We are prepared to be flexible in our implementation of the general rule for such bona fide cases.”
Mr Ong responded to two other queries in his Facebook post: If families of four from the same household can travel in the same car, and if grandparents can continue to care for their grandchildren if they live in different households.
On the former, Mr Ong said: “Yes, as a family unit, they can travel in the same car or take public transport together.”
He also said that grandparents can continue to help out families that require childcare support.
“For families who require childcare support, grandparents may go over to help, but do keep to the cap of two visitors per household per day,” he said.
“You can also send your children to their grandparents’ place, without worrying about the visitor cap.”
Mr Ong added that enforcement officers will “exercise judgment and flexibility”, but will take firm action against “egregious offenders” including those who challenge safe distancing ambassadors or refuse to wear masks.