Singapores Ministry of Health has announced plans to start easing COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated people from this Tuesday 10 August, including an increase in the number of people allowed to dine together in restaurants and attend MICE, weddings, live music or sporting events.
The easing of the sovereign states safe management measures comes just three weeks after it reverted back to phase two heightened alert restrictions due to a recent spike in community-transmitted COVID-19 cases. However, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong had touted the possibility of easing restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated as Singapore looks to move to a new normal.
Under the revised measures, fully-vaccinated individuals will be able to participate in higher-risk activities where masks are removed such as in-restaurant dining, small worship services and mask-off sports in groups of up to five people. Likewise, events such as church services, MICE, live performances and spectator sporting events will see capacity limits increased from 50 to 500 if all are fully vaccinated. The capacity otherwise remains at 50.
Restrictions will ease further from 19 August, with capacity limits at church services, MICE, live performances and spectator sporting events rising to 1,000, while cruise ships, museums, public libraries and other attractions will have their capacity lifted from 25% to 50%. Capacity limits at shopping malls will increase from one person per 16 square meters to one person per 10 square meters, while up to 50% of office employees will be allowed to return to the workplace.
Border restrictions will ease too, with fully vaccinated travellers from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, Korea and Switzerland able to apply to opt out of dedicated hotel quarantine facilities and serve their 14-day quarantine at their places of residence instead from 20 August.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the eased measures were in response to rising vaccination rates, with 67% of the population fully vaccinated and 78% having received at least one dose as of 5 August.
Singapore, it explained, would adopt a vaccination-differentiated approach when adjusting our safe management and border measures.
Fully vaccinated individuals, who have good protection against the risk of infection or severe illnesses, will be able to engage in a wider range of activities. Unvaccinated individuals will need to exercise tighter safe management measures to protect themselves and those around them.
Even with high vaccination coverage, we may still have vaccine breakthroughs and a large number of daily COVID-19 cases within the community. Nevertheless, with the majority of our population protected through vaccination, we should be able to keep hospitalisation and ICU cases low. We will continue to monitor the situation, especially the incidence of severe illness from COVID-19, as we continue with our re-opening plans.
Singapores two casinos are currently operating at reduced capacity, including a limit of two players per gaming table, with Marina Bay Sands having reopened last Thursday afterbeing closed since 22 Julyin order to undergo deep cleaning due to a COVID-19 cluster being linked to the property.