Watch: COVID-19 task force chairs deliver ministerial statements on Government's response to pandemic
SINGAPORE: The three chairs of Singapore's COVID-19 task force spoke in Parliament on Monday (Jul 26) on the Government's response to the pandemic.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong delivered ministerial statements on easing Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions and Singapore's roadmap to living with COVID-19 as an endemic disease.
Their ministerial statements were carried live on CNA's YouTube channel.
In his statement, Mr Ong said Singapore's return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) does not change the Government's roadmap in treating COVID-19 as endemic and living normally with the coronavirus.
He added that Singapore's reopening will be controlled, unlike countries like the United Kingdom where all social restrictions were lifted at once.
Singapore must also move away from focusing on infection numbers and shift its healthcare protocols to treat COVID-19 closer to how it approaches influenza, the minister said.
READ: Return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) does not change roadmap of treating COVID-19 as endemic: Ong Ye Kung
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Mr Gan said Singapore could lift "practically all" social and workplace restrictions in a "truly endemic state", though some critical measures such as mask-wearing and precautions for large events may remain.
With restrictions eased, food and beverage, retail and other businesses that provide in-person services will see a return in demand, said the Trade and Industry Minister.
Progressively larger capacity limits will also provide relief to the tourism, cruises and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sectors, although foreign tourists will take some time to return.
Under such conditions, workplace restrictions will also ease. More workers will be able to go back to the office and businesses can conduct important face-to-face meetings and hold workplace events important for networking or team-bonding, he added.
READ: COVID-19 restrictions to be reviewed in early August, any easing only for vaccinated people: Lawrence Wong
READ: 'Practically all' social, workplace COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted in 'truly endemic state': Gan Kim Yong
Singapore will review Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions in early August, but any easing of measures will only be for those who have been vaccinated, who are "much better protected" against the virus, Mr Wong said in his statement.
He also said the government expects that around 80 per cent of the population would have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine by early September and restrictions will then be eased further.
This will include allowing large groups to gather, especially if they are fully vaccinated, and the reopening of borders to allow vaccinated people to travel to certain countries without having to serve the full 14-day stay-home notice on their return.