Singapore hits 80% vaccination milestone, prepares for reopening

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Singapore is preparing to reopen borders and substantially ease local COVID-19 restrictions after becoming one of the first jurisdictions globally to fully vaccinate 80% of its population.

The Ministry of Health issued an update on Sunday confirming that 80% of people had now received two doses of COVID vaccine, while 83% has received at least one dose.

The milestone is expected to see Singapore move from the current preparatory stage of its COVID-19 recovery plan to Transition Stage A, with more businesses to reopen, social activities to resume and eased border restrictions to allow the resumption of some travel.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kun said in early August that reaching 80% vaccination was the key step forward for Singapores recovery.

If by then we can continue to keep the number of severe cases (and) illnesses under control, and our healthcare capacity is not overly stretched, we will be able to move to the next phase, called Transition Stage A, he said at the time.

According to the MOH, there are currently 414 people hospitalized with COVID-19 although only 14 require oxygen with six in ICU.

Over the last 28 days, the percentage of unvaccinated who became severely ill or died is 9.2%, while that for the fully vaccinated is 1.3%, it added.

The 80% milestone will also be good news for Singapores tourism operators, with integrated resorts Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Singapore currently operating at limited capacity. In a statement published on its website, MBS said almost 95% of its staff was fully vaccinated while all customer-facing staff are tested at least every 28 days, and in some cases every three days, depending upon their role.

Despite its strong progress, a planned travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was recently called off.