News Highlights

Find speeches, press releases and forum replies. rss icon
Click here for E-Consultation.

17 Sep 2021

17th Sep 2021

    We have seen a continued rise in local COVID-19 cases. The great majority of these cases have exhibited no or mild symptoms. We will continue to calibrate our safe management measures, test extensively and contact trace as widely as possible to identify and reduce serious infections early. We will also make testing more pervasive by proliferating the use of Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits within our community and at our workplaces, and adjust our healthcare protocols to better navigate the current wave of transmissions.

Local Situation Update

2.   
Even as our infection cases rise - the average number of cases increased from 146 cases per day a fortnight ago, to 682 cases per day in the past week – the number of serious cases, for now, remains low. As of 16 September, there are 77 cases requiring oxygen supplementation, and 12 in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU). They represent 1.6% and 0.1% of total infections over the last 28 days.  

3.    
This has largely been brought about by the vaccination programme, which has covered 82% of our residents to date. The occurrences of severe illnesses are not even, concentrating mostly on older and unvaccinated infected individuals.  (See Annex A.) Nevertheless, we are still early in this new wave of transmission and must continue to stay vigilant.

4.    
To this end, we will press on with our vaccination booster efforts,and will continue to proliferate pervasive testing in the community and at our workplaces. We will also review our healthcare protocols to identify opportunities to facilitate more home recovery and isolation, as part of our transition to a COVID-19 resilient nation.

Vending Machines Deployed Islandwide to Support Distribution of ART Kits

5.    The Ministry of Health (MOH) is deploying 100 vending machines across 56 locations islandwide.  The vending machines will be available for 24/7 access from 18 September 2021. More information on the Health Risk Warnings (HRW) and Health Risk Alerts (HRA), the full list of collection points and the steps for collection of the ART self-test kits is available at gowhere.gov.sg/art.

6.    
Individuals who receive an HRW SMS notification must get an entry polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at a Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinic or Private Practitioner (PP)[1], and self-isolate until they receive a negative result from their first PCR test. They will also be required to perform self-administered ART tests on the third, fifth and seventh day from the day of last exposure to the COVID-19 case whom they were close contacts with, followed by another exit PCR test on or after the eighth day at a SASH clinic or PP. If all these are complied with, their HRW period will end on the tenth day of exposure. All swab costs will be borne by the Government.

7.    
From 18 September 2021 onwards, individuals who are informed of their HRW or HRA status by MOH through SMS will also receive instructions on the frequent testing regime that they must follow. To facilitate this, such individuals may scan their Singapore-issued ID (NRIC/FIN) to collect a pack (comprising three ART self-test kits) at a nearby vending machine, and use the ART kits for self-testing to fulfil the requirement for HRW. Please refer to Annex B for the list of locations for these vending machines.

8.  
From 18 September 2021, individuals who receive an HRA SMS notification should perform a self-administered ART test on the first, third and fifth day from the day of last exposure to the COVID-19 case whom they were potentially close contacts with, and monitor their health until the tenth day of exposure. All who have been issued a HRW or a HRA can use their government-distributed kits to perform the required self-administered ART tests. We urge all on HRA to exercise social responsibility and limit their interactions with other persons during that period.

Expanding the Suitability of Home Recovery Individuals 

9.   We have made Home Recovery the default care management model for suitable COVID-19 patients less than 50 years old from 15 September 2021. 597 fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients, including 13 children between 5 to 11 years old have successfully started their home recovery journey. This is close to a third of the community cases for the past two days, which is highly encouraging, as we see more individuals taking personal empowerment to take care of their own health and recovery. Since the pilot started from 30 August 2021, 32 of them have been discharged. 

10.  
Data continues to show that fully vaccinated individuals are indeed less at risk of severe illness, especially those under the age of 70 years. Hence, we will be further expanding the suitability criteria for Home Recovery to now include fully vaccinated individuals up to the age of 69 years. This allows more COVID-19 patients to recover within the comfort of their homes, and for us to further direct our hospitals resources to those who really need more intensive care. 

11.   
From 18 September 2021Home Recovery will be the default care management model for individuals who are:
a.  Fully vaccinated;
b.  
Aged 12 to 69 years old;
c.  
No severe co-morbidities or illnesses; 
d.  
Able to self-isolate in a room, preferably with an attached bathroom; and
e.  
Have no household members who are more than 80 years old or are in one of the vulnerable groups (e.g. pregnant individuals or with weakened immune response).

12.   Individuals tested positive for COVID-19 and meet the above criteria can begin Home Recovery immediately, without having to be conveyed to a hospital or Community Care Facility. We continue to urge all fully vaccinated COVID-19 individuals below the age of 70 to adopt Home Recovery as the default care management, just like how you would recover from, say, Influenza. Please continue to self-isolate from your household members until you receive confirmation of your PCR test results. If you are confirmed COVID-19 positive, please refer to the 10-step guide on our Home Recovery website at go.gov.sg/home-recovery.

Updates to Travel Classifications in our Calibrated Measures at our Borders 

13.   The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has also been closely monitoring the global COVID-19 situation and continues to update the country risk classification periodically.  The updated classification, together with the associated testing requirements, can be found in Annex C.

a.  Category II: This would include countries/regions such as Australia, Brunei, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea today. We have reviewed the COVID-19 situation in Poland and Saudi Arabia and will also add them to this category from 22 September 2021, 2359 hours.

b.  
Category III: We have reviewed the COVID-19 situation in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Latvia, Portugal and Spain and will add them to this category from 22 September 2021, 2359 hours.  Vaccinated travellers from these countries may apply to serve their 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at a suitable accommodation of their choice (e.g. residential address, hotels or serviced apartments), if they fulfil the criteria listed in Annex D. Unvaccinated travellers will still be required to undergo a 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.

Resumption of Transits and Removal of On-arrival ART for Travellers from Indonesia 

14.   We had previously announced that all travellers with a 21-day travel history to Indonesia would not be allowed to transit through Singapore, and those entering Singapore would also be required to undergo an on-arrival ART (on top of the on-arrival PCR test). As the situation in Indonesia has shown improvement, all passengers with travel history to Indonesia within the last 21 days prior to departure for Singapore will be allowed to transit through Singapore from 22 September 2021, 2359 hours. In addition, travellers from Indonesia entering Singapore will be required to undergo an on-arrival PCR test[2] instead of an ART[3] plus a PCR test.  Travellers with travel history to Indonesia within the last 21 days prior to departure for Singapore will be subject to Category IV border measures.

15.   
As the global situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures in tandem with our roadmap to becoming a COVID-19 resilient nation. Any changes to border measures will be updated on the SafeTravel website. Travellers are advised to visit the website to check the latest border measures for the associated country or region before entering Singapore; and be prepared to be subjected to the prevailing border measures upon entry.

Working together towards COVID-19 resiliency

16.   
Our current transmission levels are in line with those experienced by similar countries on a path towards COVID-19 resilience. While our vaccinations have allowed us to keep severe illness low among those who are infected, we need all Singaporeans to remain vigilant and continue working together by exercising civic consciousness and personal responsibility so that we can dampen the rate of transmission together and ride this wave of infections safely. To this end, we seek everyone’s continued cooperation to come forward for vaccination if you have not yet done so, seek medical care if feeling unwell, practise good hand hygiene, self-test regularly, and self-regulate social interactions at a restrained level. Together, we will emerge stronger.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH
17 SEPTEMBER 2021


[1] PCR tests can be taken at the following PPs: Fullerton Health Testing Centre, Raffles Hospital or Kingsway Medical Clinic. Individuals on HRW may make an appointment through the booking link: go.gov.sg/hrw-testing

[2] To expedite the COVID-19 PCR test at the checkpoints, travellers are strongly encouraged to register and pre-pay for their on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test prior to departing for Singapore at https://safetravel.changiairport.com/ (for Changi Airport) and https://t.2c2p.com/express/parkwayshenton (for Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal).

[3]  Travellers from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka would also undergo an on-arrival PCR instead of an ART plus a PCR test.