SINGAPORE: All COVID-19 vaccination-differentiated measures will be lifted from Oct 10, with restrictions no longer in place for dining in, nightlife establishments and events with more than 500 participants.
"We have learned to live with the COVID-19 virus, having weathered several infection waves and progressively lifted safe management measures," said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a news release on Friday (Oct 7).
"As we resume normalcy in our daily activities, we will lift the vaccination-differentiated safe management measures fully from Oct 10, 2022."
This means there will be no vaccination-differentiated restrictions for:
- Events with more than 500 participants at any one time
- Nightlife establishments where dancing among patrons is one of the intended activities
- Dining in at food and beverage establishments, including hawker centres.
"(The measures have) served us well in our journey to safe reopening," said MOH.
Singapore has significantly eased COVID-19 measures, with mask-wearing not required except on public transport, as well as in healthcare and residential care settings.
Group size limits and safe-distancing measures have also been lifted. SafeEntry and TraceTogether requirements were also removed for most settings.
All employees are allowed to return to the workplace, and the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level was lowered from Orange to Yellow after more than two years.
The DORSCON framework, which gives an indication of the current disease situation, was raised to Orange on Feb 7, 2020, at the start of the pandemic.
The ministry added that the measures have helped to protect those who are not fully vaccinated by reducing their exposure to settings with a higher risk of transmission, and in turn keeping the healthcare system from being overwhelmed when population-wide vaccination and infection rates were not yet sufficiently high.
However, even as the measures are lifted, people who are not fully vaccinated continue to face a higher risk of severe disease, said the Health Ministry.
"We urge such persons to come forward to be vaccinated, or continue to take their own precautions and minimise social interactions to protect themselves."
MOH also reminded members of the public to continue to remain vigilant and be ready to respond to any dangerous new variants, even as most safe management measures are eased.
It added that should the situation worsen, necessary measures may be put in place at "short notice" to protect the public, safeguard healthcare workers and conserve hospital capacity.
This may include "standing up" an appropriate level of vaccination-differentiated measures, as was necessary during the height of the pandemic.
MOH noted that as of Thursday, average daily infections in the community over a seven-day period rose from around 2,600 a week ago to 4,400.
Hospitalised cases have also increased from 247 a week ago to 342, and the number of Intensive Care Unit cases increased from nine to 13 in the same period.
"This is likely due to increased social activities, safe management measures being stepped down, and also the BA.2.75 and BA.2.10 Omicron subvariants, which have been detected around the world, now circulating in Singapore," said MOH, adding that the rise in daily cases was "not unexpected".
"What is important is to protect our healthcare capacity, and ensure that infections do not translate into large numbers of severely ill patients," said the ministry.
"We need to each keep our COVID-19 vaccination up-to-date as vaccination has become our primary defence against COVID-19."