The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (6 Sep) urged all individuals to limit themselves to one social gathering a day, and will no longer allow social gatherings and interactions at workplaces from 8 September, following the spike in COVID-19 cases recently.
In a statement earlier today, MOH advised all individuals, especially the vulnerable elderly or persons staying with elderly, to reduce their non-essential social activities for the next two weeks.
“We should continue to limit our social circle to a small group of regular contacts and limit ourselves to one social gathering a day, whether to another household or in a public place.
“All individuals, including both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, should also self-test regularly with ARTs [Antigen Rapid Tests], especially if we participate in higher-risk activities or attend large-scale events,” it stated.
MOH observed that the recent clusters in workplace settings have taken place due to “lax safe management measures”, especially in areas like staff canteens and pantries where people tend to let their guard down and interact amongst themselves without their masks on.
“Hence, we will no longer allow social gatherings and interactions at workplaces from 8 September 2021,” said the Ministry.
MOH added that it will take tougher action if there are positive cases amongst workers who are infected.
“In particular, employers will be required to put in place a maximum Work-From-Home (WFH) requirement over a 14 day period, should one or more of their workers be found to have contracted COVID-19 and have returned to their workplace.
“This means that everyone in the company who can WFH will be required to do so. Those who are working from home should minimise social gatherings and leave their homes only for essential activities during this 14-day period,” it stated.
In addition, MOH noted that it will monitor the local situation “closely” for the next two weeks.
“We seek everyone’s cooperation in ramping up self-testing and in observing all safe management measures so that we can lower transmission risks together.
“Everyone can play their role by minimising their movement and social interactions so that we can reduce footfall at common spaces at or near the workplace and in public venues, especially when there are sharp increases in transmissions,” it added.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Mr Lawrence Wong, Finance Minister and co-chair of the Multi Ministry Taskforce for COVID, spoke on the need for new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore.
“Currently, the R (reproduction rate) is more than 1. Cases are doubling every week and if we continue on this trajectory of infection, it means we could have 1,000 cases in two weeks, or possibly 2,000 cases in a month”. said Mr Wong.
He also said, “The more we are out and about, there is always a chance that we – by circulating around so much – may inadvertently become the source of the next superspreader event and we’re trying to ask people: Please hold back, particularly during this period when there are so many (COVID-19) cases and where the virus is spreading so quickly, just scale back… your social interactions,”
Earlier on Friday, Mr Wong said that authorities will only revert to tightened restrictions as “a last resort” with 81% of Singapore’s population completing the vaccination regimen,
He added that Singapore does not plan to relax its COVID-19 measures yet. “With regular testing with effective safe management measures, we can keep things under control, and continue on this journey of reopening safely,” he said. He reminded that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, should test themselves regularly for the virus.