Singapore’s government has just announced on 14 May 2021 (Friday) that the measures to curb COVID-19 has been tightened. This is in view of the rise in locally transmitted cases and unlinked community cases.
Why to the need to tighten COVID-19 measures
New clusters have been forming in different parts of Singapore, including the Jewel Changi Airport and even a hospital cluster (Tan Tock Seng Hospital [TTSH]). This has led to the Singapore government to move swiftly to implement tighter measures to prevent escalation in the number of cases.
The pattern of local unlinked cases is also worrying. This suggests that there may be unknown cases in the community. There may also be possible ongoing community transmission. This means that current measures may be insufficient to break the chain of transmission. Hence, the government has decided to move into tighter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 further in the community.
Measures will take effect from 16 May 2021 (Friday) through till 13 June 2021 (Sunday).
Summary of tightened measures
1. Limit of social gathering from 5 persons to 2 persons
- Group sizes limited to 2 persons
- Distinct visitors per household is also capped at 2 persons (Grandchildren being cared for by grandparents are excluded)
- Limit number of social gatherings to no more than 2 a day
2. Work-from-home (WFH) to become the default
- Employers must ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so
- No cross-deployment of workers to multiple worksites
- Stagger start times of employees (if they need to return to workplace), implement flexible working hours
- No social gatherings at work
3. No indoor ‘mask-off’ activities. This includes:
- Strenuous indoor exercise classes and sports
- Dine-in F&B establishment (food courts, hawker centres)
- Personalised services which require masks to be removed (e.g. facials and saunas)
4. No dining in F&B establishment
- Dine-in F&B establishments are a higher-risk setting as people are seated with masks off
- Establishments can only offer takeaway or delivery options
5. Reduction of Activity and Event Sizes; Pre-Event testing (PET)
- Congregational and other worship services: reduced capacity of 50 pax (without PET), 100 pax (with PET)
- Shopping malls and showrooms: 10sqm per person of Gross Floor Area (GFA), to 16sqm per person. Certain shopping malls will implement odd and even days entry.
- Attractions and shows: attractions that have received MTI’s prior approval will be reduced from 50% to 25%
- Museums and public libraries: 25% of capacity
- Cinemas: 50 pax (without PET), 100 pax (with PET). No eating or drinking in cinemas
- MICE and live performances: 50 pax (without PET), 100 pax (with PET).
- Wedding reception: not allowed
- Solemnisation: 50 pax (without PET), 100 pax (with PET)
- Funerals: reduced from 30 pax to 20 pax for all days of the funeral
6. Increased testing strategy
- For anyone presenting with respiratory symptoms, tests will be funded by the Singapore government.
- These tests include the Antigen Rapid Testing (ART) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests
- Roll out progressively from 15 May (Sat) in all Swab and Send Home (SASH) Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs)
Continue to promote and push for COVID-19 vaccination. This can help provide significant protection against infections, reduce severity of infection and transmission.