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People aged 60 and above 'strongly discouraged' from attending religious activities: MCCY

People aged 60 and above 'strongly discouraged' from attending religious activities: MCCY

The Church of St Teresa, one of Singapore's national monuments. (Photo: TODAY/Najeer Yusof)

SINGAPORE: People who are 60 years old and above are "strongly discouraged" from attending or supporting religious activities in the next one month, even if they are vaccinated, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on Saturday (Sep 25).

"Seniors should also take their vaccination booster shot if they are eligible," said the ministry in its guideline for activities in places of worship, updated a day after the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force announced the tightening of community safe management measures.

From Monday to Oct 24, attendees of religious and other community activities, including worship services, are also limited to a maximum two people in a group, down from the current five.

The maximum total number of allowed in a congregational or other worship services remains at 50 unvaccinated worshippers or 1,000 fully vaccinated people.

The cap of two per group also applies to funerals, wakes, installation of niches and post-funeral rites at places of worship.

A maximum total of 30 people are allowed to attend these activities at any one time.

Visits to columbaria at places of worship must not be in groups of more than two and should be "kept as short as possible", said MCCY.

Additionally, non-congregational religious activities for those aged 12 and below will be suspended until Oct 10. Children can still attend worship services.

Religious organisations may continue to conduct religious rites and other activities, such as classes, for those above 12 years old so long as they are kept to 50 people, with each group comprising no more than two.

"As a best practice, we encourage a greater separation of 2 metres between groups of students attending religious classes," said MCCY, adding that religious organisations are "strongly encouraged" to conduct classes online.

The ministry also strongly advised all religious and supporting workers, including cleaners and volunteers, to undergo a self-administered antigen rapid test (ART) before they are deployed on-site during this period, even if they are fully vaccinated.

As announced on Friday, work-from-home will be the default for workplaces, and religious workers and administrative staff members should comply with this, said MCCY.

"Restrictions against cross-deployment across worksites remain in place," it added.

The tightening of measures comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Singapore in recent weeks.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday said it will review the measures two weeks after implementation and adjust them based on the community situation then.

"We do not need to return to a heightened alert. But we have to do more to scale back social interactions further in order to slow down community transmissions and allow for better stability," said MOH.

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Source: CNA/jt(rw)

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