Govt will likely ease COVID-19 measures for vaccinated people in early August, says Minister Lawrence Wong

Govt will likely ease COVID-19 measures for vaccinated people in early August, says Minister Lawrence Wong

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) will likely ease Singapore’s COVID-19 measures in early August, but it will only be applied to those who have been fully vaccinated for the COVID-19, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (26 July).

Mr Wong, who also co-chairs the MTF, was delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament.

He noted that the task force will review the measures at the mid-point of the ongoing Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period early next month, during which two-thirds of the population and three-quarters of those aged 70 and above would have been fully vaccinated.

“So if the clusters are under control, and hospitalisation rates remain low, we will be able to ease some of the Phase 2 (HA) measures.

“But the easing will be differentiated and extended to only vaccinated persons, because they are much better protected against the effects of the virus,” said the Minister.

Mr Wong said only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to dine in at eateries or exercise in a gym. Those looking to attend large events or religious services involving more than 100 people must also be fully vaccinated.

He further noted that Singapore’s controlled reopening would be synchronised with its vaccination coverage, “not just of the overall population but amongst our seniors, who are the most vulnerable”.

The government expects to have about 80 per cent of the population receive two doses of the vaccine by early September, which will then be able to ease the restrictions further, especially for those who are fully vaccinated.

Mr Wong hinted that Singapore will also be able to reopen its borders and allow vaccinated people to travel to countries or regions that have “managed COVID-19 well”.

“With these arrangements, fully vaccinated persons will be able to travel without needing to serve the full 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) in a hotel when they return.

“Depending on the risk level of the country they visit, we will either replace the SHN with a rigorous testing regime, or shorten the SHN to seven days at home. This will allow them to travel more freely,” he added.

The Minister noted that those who are not vaccinated will still be allowed to travel but will be subject to prevailing SHN requirements.

However, Mr Wong noted that a rise in cases are expected to occur as Singapore progressively eases restrictions, given that there is still “ongoing cryptic transmission” which can easily break out into new clusters.

“But at that stage, our main focus will no longer be on daily case numbers. Because the vast majority by then would have been vaccinated, and even if they catch the virus, they are much less likely to become very ill.

“Instead, our focus will be on the much smaller number of infected persons who need supplementary oxygen or require intensive care,” he said.

Mr Wong assured that the Government will monitor the hospitalisation and intensive care numbers at each stage of easing to ensure they remain acceptable and stable, adding that Singapore has to be prepared to “slow down, or even pull back” if the numbers increased.

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