People sit outside a bar on Emily Hill in Singapore, Monday, Aug. 22, 2022.
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SINGAPORE – Singapore is ready to allow travelers who are not fully vaccinated to skip quarantine on arrival starting Monday, authorities announced Wednesday.
The country is also set to remove indoor mask requirements from August 1. 29, as it seeks to take another step towards coexistence with Covid.
While the further relaxation of border and security measures is a “significant milestone”, the country still needs to “be mentally prepared for any sudden changes because we don’t know how this virus will mutate and what the next variant will look like,” he said. Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also co-chair of the Covid task force in Singapore.
Visitors who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to test negative for Covid within 2 days of their departure to Singapore. But they will no longer need to quarantine for 7 days at home or at their place of residence.
Currently, fully vaccinated travelers can enter Singapore without being tested for Covid-19 or undergoing quarantine.
Unvaccinated long-term visitors and short-term visitors who are currently 13 years of age or older must apply for Entry Approval to enter Singapore. This requirement will also be lifted from Monday, according to the Ministry of Health.
Relaxation of mask requirements
Masks will be optional indoors and required in special settings such as on public transport and in healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and ambulances from Monday, the Health Ministry said. They are optional in taxis, private rentals and at the airport.
“The reason is that we have identified areas where essential services are carried out in closed and crowded spaces and are frequently used by vulnerable people,” said Wong, who is also the country’s finance minister.
The decision to lift the mask requirements was First announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.
Currently, masks are required in almost all indoor settings, with the exception of workplaces where there is no physical interaction or customer-facing areas.
“For businesses and employers, they have the discretion to decide whether or not they want to do this [from] from a workplace safety standpoint… we’re removing a mandatory requirement for wearing masks, but it’s optional,” Wong said.
In preparation for the next wave of omicron, the Ministry of Health said that a second Covid mRNA booster is now recommended for those who are 60 years of age or older.
Previously, second boosters were only recommended for people over 80 years of age.
Some 93% of the population completed the primary vaccination series as of Monday, while 79% of the total population received boosters.
The high rate of reinforcement is a “key reason” the nation has been able to ride out the current wave of Covid, Singapore’s health minister Ong Ye Kung said.
Ong emphasized the need to expand the recommendations to people ages 60 to 79, five months after their first booster, even though the first booster has provided strong protection against serious illness for people in this age group.
The Ministry of Health also recommended that children between the ages of 5 and 11 receive a booster, five months after the second dose of their primary vaccination series, to increase their protection.
Covid situation in Singapore
Plans are in place for a possible new wave of Covid, perhaps in the winter, Wong said.
“We continue to monitor closely and have plans in place for various contingencies, including expanding our health care capacity, as well as … vaccination operations if the need arises,” Wong said at the news conference on Wednesday.
He added that those plans “would buy us time”, in case there is a wave of covid that is aggressive and dangerous.
Average daily infections over a 7-day period fell to 2,700 as of Tuesday, as daily infections continued to drop from a record 26,032 infections on February 1. 22. Most of those infected in Singapore have mild symptoms or no symptoms.
the Southeast Asian country further eased Covid measures at the end of April. Social gatherings will no longer be limited to 10 people and people will no longer need to keep 1 meter apart.
People wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19 in Singapore.
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In April, separate rules for unvaccinated people were also removed, with a few exceptions.
Those who are not vaccinated will not yet be able to dine or participate in events with more than 500 people. Nor can they visit nightlife establishments where they dance.
However, food and beverage outlets will not be required to check customers’ vaccination status, the Health Ministry said in a press release.
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