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Singapore eases restrictions from July 12; further easing will come as more people get vaccinated

Amala Balakrishner
Amala Balakrishner7/7/2021 03:30 PM GMT+08  • 5 min read
Singapore eases restrictions from July 12;  further easing will come as more people get vaccinated
Vaccines provide “good protection against the infection and against severe illnesses” says Finance Minister Lawrence Wong
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Photo: MCI

Singapore is set to move to the next stage of its “Phase 3 (Heightened Alert)” measures on July 12, following a stabilisation in the Covid-19 infections within the community.

There has also been a containment in the spread of the coronavirus in the local clusters, the Covid-19 multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) noted on July 7.

Come July 12, people will be allowed to gather socially in groups of up to five persons, up from the current two person cap.

With people being unmasked and in close proximity with one another, dining-in is still seen as a higher-risk activity. As such, entertainment at F&B establishment such as live entertainment, recorded music and videos/TV screening will continue to be prohibited to reduce the expulsion of droplets from individuals having to raise their voices over the entertainment.

Wedding receptions – another higher-risk activity – will also be allowed to resume. Attendees of receptions with over 250 persons will be required to undergo pre-event testing.

Only the wedding party will need to undergo testing for receptions with at most 50 guests.

Meanwhile, gyms and fitness studios will be allowed to conduct indoor mask-off sports/exercise activities in groups of up to five persons. Similar rules will apply to mask-on activities done outdoors.

Sports and exercise classes will be permitted to continue with a class size of 50 persons including the instructor, or the capacity limit of the venue if it is lower. Each group within the class can have a maximum of five persons.

The work-from-home arrangement will continue to be the default so as to reduce the overall interaction within workplaces and on public transport, the MTF said.

However, social gatherings will be allowed at workplaces, with a cap of no more than five persons. Employers are also reminded implement flexible working hours and to stagger the start times of employees required to go back to the office.

The republic may see a further easing of these restrictions once the vaccination coverage increases.

Get vaccinated

As of July 7, 5.9 million people in Singapore have been vaccinated, of which over 3.7 million have taken their first dose.

These individuals account for slightly more than 65% or close to two-thirds of Singapore’s population, health minister Ong Ye Kung highlighted in a virtual doorstop.

Some 2.1 million or 39% of the population have taken two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Around 76,000 vaccines are being administered on average each day. With the nation’s daily capacity being 80,000, Ong encouraged more people “to come forward and get vaccinated”.

In terms of age, 71% of individuals aged 70 and above have been vaccinated. By contrast the numbers are: 85% (persons aged 60 – 69, 86% (50 – 59), 86%, (40 – 49), 78% (30 – 39), 80% (20 – 29) and 80% (12 – 19).

Ong urged more seniors to get vaccinated seeing as they are most vulnerable.

“It’s not a matter of the elderly saying, ‘I don’t go out at all, I’m safe’” said Ong, as he highlighted that seniors can well get the virus from family members who may be on the move.

To further drive this point, he pointed out that while there as a higher incidence of the virus amongst the younger generation in the UK and Israel, the seniors often encountered more severe symptoms.

Drawing reference to scientific studies, Ong said that the Covid-19 vaccines are seen to have a 69% effective protection against variants like Delta.

See also: Singapore to ease Covid-19 restrictions from Apr 5 but 'don't get too excited' says Wong

The study was conducted by the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and Ministry of Health (MOH), and shows that and individual's protection against symptomatic disease is “between 80 and 90%” if vaccinated.

“Effectiveness of vaccination against severe Covid-19 disease, requiring oxygen supplementation, ICU (intensive care unit) care or death is at 93%,” noted Ong.

“We are not constrained by supplies anymore, in fact we have the capacity to deliver more dosages,” he added.

All eligible individuals in Singapore have now been offered vaccination. At the current rate, the MTF expects half of the population to have two doses of vaccines around the week of July 26.

Citing a separate study, Finance Minister Lawrance Wong pointed out that individuals receive a 31% protection from the coronavirus when they get their first dose. This jumps to 79% after the second dose.

More activities are slated to reopen as more people get vaccinated. This as the vaccines provide “good protection against the infection and against severe illnesses” and the individuals “don’t need such strict measures to apply”.

Further easing may come in the form of an increase in the group sizes to eight individuals so long as all members have been vaccinated. The group size will remain at five persons for individuals who have yet to be vaccinated since they lack the protection.

Activities such as congregational worship, live performances and wedding solemnisations could also see a doubling in group size to 500 persons if they are attended by fully vaccinated persons.

These plans are part of a broader road map being worked on, said Wong. Other measures include travel-related measures, he added.

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