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Some employees to undergo 'vaccinate or regular test' regime for COVID-19 from Oct 1

Some employees to undergo 'vaccinate or regular test' regime for COVID-19 from Oct 1

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

SINGAPORE: Workers in selected sectors will be required to undergo vaccination or regular COVID-19 testing, including those who interact with vulnerable groups within the population, said co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Aug 6).

This will take effect from Oct 1 to give them time to get vaccinated.

Unvaccinated employees under the “vaccinate or regular test” regime will have to be tested with an antigen rapid test kit twice a week, said co-chair of the task force Lawrence Wong.

"This will help to protect them, their colleagues and the people they serve in the course of their work," said Mr Wong, who is also the Finance Minister.

The Government will subsidise the COVID-19 tests for those who remain medically ineligible for vaccines.The COVID-19 multi-ministry task force made the announcement as part of a mid-point review of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures.

The "vaccinate or regular test" regime will be introduced for people working in the healthcare sector, eldercare sector and settings with children 12 years and below.

“This protects vulnerable segments of the population such as the elderly, children and sick,” said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a separate press release.

Individuals working in industries that interact with customers in high-risk mask-off settings, such as at Singapore’s borders or COVID-19 frontline work, will also be subject to this regime. Other sectors include food & beverage establishments, gyms and fitness studios, and personal care services.

The last category of people to fall under this regime are those in the Public Service, who will “lead by example”, said Mr Gan, who is also Minister for Trade and Industry.

"The vaccination rate is already very high across the Public Service. More than 94 per cent of our officers are vaccinated. And we will continue to encourage those who have not done so to get their jabs," said Mr Wong.

“Although Singapore’s vaccination rates are one of the highest in the world, we need to continue to expand our vaccine coverage,” said MOH.

More details will be released by the respective Ministries overseeing the sectors, it added.

"We strongly encourage all employers to facilitate vaccination for your employees," said MOH.

"We will continue to closely monitor our vaccination rates and review the need to include other sectors in the future."

According to Mr Gan, about two-thirds of Singapore’s population have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

When at least 80 per cent of Singapore’s population have received their full vaccination regimens, Singapore will be able to take the next steps towards opening up its economy, social activities and travel, said MOH.

“At that stage, we can consider further easing of restrictions, while continuing with differentiated safe distancing rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. 

“We will make these moves in a controlled manner, synchronising the easing with our vaccination coverage and seeking to minimise the incidence of severe illness and death,” it said.

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Source: CNA/cc(ta)

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