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Singapore

Streamlined COVID-19 measures begin: From gatherings at home to mask-on settings, what are you allowed to do? 

02:27 Min
Streamlined COVID-19 measures take effect on Tuesday (Mar 15) as Singapore aims to transition to a COVID-19 resilient nation. Cherie Lok reports. 

SINGAPORE: Streamlined COVID-19 measures take effect on Tuesday (Mar 15) as Singapore aims to transition to a COVID-19 resilient nation.

The measures, covering areas such as safe distancing, the number of household visitors allowed and event capacity limits, were initially announced last month but were postponed "in view of the surge in daily cases and the heavy workload in the healthcare sector", the Ministry of Health (MOH) had said.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said at a news conference on Friday that there were "good indications" that the Omicron wave had peaked, and was subsiding, "albeit slowly".

Based on the seven-day moving average of local cases, on Feb 26, the numbers peaked at about 18,300 cases and had since came down steadily and gradually, Mr Ong said. 

The streamlining of the measures is "to make things simpler to understand and remember, so that everyone can better do their part", MOH said.

"It also prepares us for further easing of measures and the safe resumption of normal activities, when conditions are right and the healthcare workload has eased, which we expect in the coming weeks," MOH added.

Here is what you can look forward to from Tuesday.

SAFE DISTANCING 

Safe distancing will no longer be required for mask-on settings. However, it is still required for all mask-off settings, in recognition that masking remains the key means of protection against infection, said MOH.

Where safe distancing is required, the distance will be streamlined to a single safe distance of 1m for all settings, MOH said. 

WORKPLACE REQUIREMENTS

The Government will maintain the current posture of allowing up to 50 per cent of employees who can work from home to return to the office, MOH said.

As part of the streamlining, the rules for social gatherings will apply to workplaces and other social settings as well, as long as general group size and masking rules are adhered to.

This means that safe distancing is not required for employees wearing masks and social gatherings can be resumed, capped at five people per group.

The specific restriction on cross-deployment of employees across workplaces will also be removed, but employers may continue to do so for business continuity reasons, MOH said. 

EVENTS 

The Government will lift specific event size limits for events held outside the home such as religious services, business events, media conferences, funerary memorial events, solemnisations, wedding receptions, and mask-on classes. 

Event sizes will instead be set based on the capacity of the venue. 

This means that for smaller settings and events with 1,000 or fewer people, they can proceed without being subject to any capacity limit. Zoning requirements will also be removed, as the main protection is through masks and vaccination, MOH said. 

For home solemnisations, there can be up to 10 attendees or five non-resident visitors, whichever is higher. For home funerals, the current arrangement of up to 30 attendees remains.

For larger settings and events with more than 1,000 people that are mask-on, they will be subject to a capacity limit of 50 per cent. For mask-off events, individuals will be required to comply with the 1m safe distancing requirement and prevailing group size. 

These apply to events and settings like attractions, cruises, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) and large work-related events.

For example, an event with 1,200 people needs to be held at a venue which accommodates 2,400 people, or the event size would have to be capped at 1,000 people. 

Events where 1m safe distancing and group size limits apply will not be subject to the 50 per cent capacity limit, as the safe management measures already ensure spreading out of attendees, MOH said. 

GROUP GATHERINGS AT HOME 

Households can have more than five unique visitors at home per day. 

The maximum number of unique visitors per household will be adjusted from five people a day, to 5 people at any one time, MOH said. 

However, MOH urged everyone to continue to exercise restraint in meeting multiple groups of friends, be it outside or at home, and especially if they live with vulnerable people.

GROUPS WITH CHILDREN

Unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below - born in 2010 or later - need not be from the same household to be included within a group entering premises or participating in activities with vaccination differentiated measures.

TEAM SPORTS

Team sports for up to 30 fully vaccinated people including players, coaches and umpires will be allowed. Teams can proceed with their activities at selected supervised or operated sports facilities, MOH said, referring to ActiveSG and People’s Association facilities and SportSG-approved private facilities.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth will progressively expand the number of venues in the coming weeks.

The prevailing community safe management measures will apply before and after the sport activity and during rest breaks, MOH said, adding that no additional testing requirement will be imposed as long as all participants are fully vaccinated.

However, participants are “strongly encouraged” to self-test before arriving for the sports activity, and to stay home if they test positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms. Participants will be required to complete a health declaration form prior to the sports activity.

MIGRANT WORKERS

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will also streamline the safe management measures for migrant workers living in dormitories, to align with the latest measures for the community, MOH said. 

In addition, up to 15,000 vaccinated migrant workers will be allowed to visit the community on weekdays, and up to 30,000 on weekends and public holidays, for up to 8 hours per visit. 

This is an increase from the current quotas of 3,000 on weekdays, and 6,000 for weekends and public holidays, MOH said.

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Source: CNA/ja(gr)

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