Vaccination-differentiated measures to be lifted except for F&B outlets, some nightlife activities and large events
SINGAPORE: Vaccination-differentiated safe-management measures (VDS) will be removed from all settings from Apr 26 except at F&B outlets, nightlife establishments where dancing is an activity, as well as events with more than 500 participants, announced Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung on Friday (Apr 22).
These are settings which are assessed to pose higher risks of transmission due to factors such as large crowds and unmasked activities, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a separate press release.
“The key consideration is still this, that individuals who are not fully vaccinated account for a disproportionate number of patients who fall severely ill or die. When our hospitals were still under a lot of pressure, VDS was critical in ensuring that we do not assert too much burden on our healthcare system,” the Health Minister said at a multi-ministry task force press conference.
“However now that the hospitals’ workload has eased considerably, there is less need now to retain VDS in its current form.”
In addition, Singapore’s vaccination coverage is “among the highest in the world” at 96 per cent of its eligible population, MOH noted.
All this allows the country to step down its vaccination-differentiated safe-management measures by reducing the settings in which they are needed, said Mr Ong.
“In particular, settings such as places of worship, malls, retail shops, supermarkets et cetera, will no longer need to maintain VDS,” he added.
“It also means that the onus now falls on the individuals who are not fully vaccinated to take the necessary precautions to avoid crowded places, so that you minimise your chance of being infected and falling severely ill."
While people still need to be vaccinated to be able to dine in at F&B establishments, these businesses will no longer need to conduct vaccination checks on their customers, said MOH.
Customers will be expected to abide by the rules, and random spot-checks will continue to be conducted to ensure that only fully vaccinated people are dining in, it added.
This is already the case for hawker centres and coffee shops currently.
Workplace vaccination measures implemented by the Ministry of Manpower will also be lifted, announced Mr Ong.
He added that the Manpower Ministry has been discussing the issue with tripartite partners, who agree that given the significant pandemic risks that still exist in the coming months, businesses should still be given the flexibility to impose vaccination-related instructions for employees, for business continuity, as well as health and safety reasons.
MOM will provide further details later, said Mr Ong.
STOPPING HEALTH RISK NOTICE
The Health Ministry will stop issuing health risk notices to close contacts of COVID-19 cases from Apr 26.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer need to submit the details of their household contacts online, said the ministry, while cautioning that people should continue to exercise social responsibility.
For example, infected people should still inform close contacts so that they can, in turn, take the necessary precautions by testing themselves before leaving the house.
Settings with vulnerable people like hospitals, nursing homes and elderly homes should request proof of a negative antigen rapid test result for people will recent exposure before they are allowed to enter, said MOH.
Watch the full news conference, including the Q&A session with journalists: