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15 Nov 2021

15th Nov 2021

      On 8 November 2021, the Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) announced the calibrated easing of selected safe management measures (SMMs) as part of the mid-point review of the extended Stabilisation Phase. SMMs for migrant workers residing in dormitories will similarly be eased now in a calibrated manner, by expanding their community visit programme and allowing daily visits to the Recreation Centres (RCs) for migrant workers. We are also progressively rolling out more stringent implementation of Vaccination Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) in hawker centres and coffee shops, in consultation with the operators, to allow up to five fully vaccinated individuals from the same household to dine-in together after being checked-in via SafeEntry. Pilots imposing more stringent entry conditions, e.g. Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) on top of participants being fully vaccinated, in exchange for more permissive SMMs, will also be rolled out in selected MICE, musical and sporting events in the coming weeks. Finally, we will continue reconnecting Singapore with the rest of the world in a safe way, by extending Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) to include India, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Updates on Local COVID-19 Situation and Healthcare Capacity

 

2.     The week-on-week ratio of community cases has remained stable at around 0.8 to 1.0 this past week. We should expect the ratio to drift upwards as more restrictions are being relaxed and there are more social interactions. While daily case numbers continue to trend at around 3,000 a day, close to 99% of cases continue to have mild or no symptoms and the vast majority are recovering well at home.

 

3.     The proportion of patients who require oxygen supplementation has held steady at 0.8% of our total cases, and those who require intensive care unit (ICU) care at 0.3%, in the past 28 days. The number of cases in the ICU remains high but stable in the past week at close to 130 cases per day. Our overall ICU occupancy is approximately 63%.

 

Updates on VDS Measures for Businesses and Community

 

Pilots with VDS+Test Protocol

 

4.     We had announced our intention to pilot greater allowances for activities involving those who are less vulnerable and are fully vaccinated, subject to the additional requirement of testing before participation, i.e.  a “VDS+Test” protocol. The test (Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or ART) results must be reflected on TraceTogether, or performed or supervised by the event organiser or venue operator (either in person or virtually). 

 

5.     We will start off with selected MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), spectator sports and live performance events, where capacity limits and zoning requirements will be eased in a calibrated manner. The pilots kicked off today with the Milken Institute Asia Summit (15-16 November 2021), and will also apply to the Bloomberg New Economy Forum (16-19 November 2021), and Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific 2021 (22-24 November 2021). JJ Lin’s two-day charity live concert “After the Rain” (27-28 November 2021), and a ONE Championship martial arts event in the coming months will also be included. More details on the requirements and safe management measures will be released by the respective event organisers.

 

6.     The outcomes of these pilots will be assessed before deciding how to expand the protocol to more events and settings, as part of our broader plan to allow safe resumption of further activities as we move towards being a COVID-19 resilient nation.

 

Dine-in Restrictions for Hawker Centres and Coffee Shops

 

7.     We had announced earlier that we will tighten the imposition of VDS in hawker centres and coffee shops, as these are mask-off settings where the unvaccinated can get infected easily. It is therefore important to have proper checks on vaccination status before someone enters a hawker centre or coffee shop, and to allow only those who are fully vaccinated to sit down to eat. This can make a very significant difference to our healthcare capacity, and especially ICU occupancy.

 

8.     However, these are settings where implementation and enforcement are more challenging. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has been engaging the Hawkers’ Associations and Town Councils. We expect the first group of hawker centres to put in place access control and checking systems before the end of November. For these hawker centres, once the systems are up, fully vaccinated individuals from the same household can dine in groups of five, just like other F&B establishments. The remaining hawker centres should then be able to follow soon after. 

 

9.     As for coffeeshops, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has similarly been engaging the operators and will provide them with the option of putting in place a system to control access and check the status of their patrons, which will allow them to enjoy the concession for individuals from the same household to dine in groups of five. Otherwise, the prevailing group size of two will apply. 

 

10.     For dine-in of up to five individuals from the same household, we will expand the list of acceptable documents to check for proof of residence, from NRIC and SingPass, to the following approved Government digital apps: myICA and SGWorkPass.

 

Further Expansion of Community Visit Programme and More Convenient Access to Recreation Centres for Migrant Workers Residing in Dormitories

 

11.     The migrant worker dormitories are now more COVID-resilient, with 98% of migrant workers residing in dormitories fully vaccinated1. Migrant workers are also taking up booster vaccinations at an encouraging pace as they become eligible. COVID-19 infections in the dormitories have stabilised over the last few weeks with an average daily number of 143 migrant workers testing PCR positive in the last week. They also have to undergo weekly testing, regardless of vaccination status2

 

12.     Hence, from 3 December 2021the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will further ease restrictions for migrant workers residing in dormitories by expanding the community visit programme from 3,000 migrant workers per week to 3,000 vaccinated migrant workers per day to visit any location within the community, for up to eight hours per visit. The necessary safeguards such as additional pre-event ART, i.e., before they leave their dormitories, remain in place as an added precaution.   

 

13.     We will also make RC visits more accessible for migrant workers. They will be allowed to visit the RCs daily with an extended duration of eight hours per visit. This is up from the thrice weekly cap on RC vists that is currently in place. Unvaccinated migrant workers are required to undergo a pre-visit ART to be allowed entry into RCs.

 

14.     From mid-December, we will further increase access to RCs, and allow migrant workers to visit any RCs of their choice. MOM is working with RC operators to increase the variety of activities at the RCs, such as organising screenings of movies and sports games, and putting in place processes to manage a larger number of visits from migrant workers. More details can be found in the Annex A.

 

New Affordable Self-Test ART Kits Approved for Use

 

15.     The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Sciences Authority (HSA), with the assistance of Diagnostic Development Hub (DxD) in Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and our healthcare institutions, have been actively sourcing for more high quality and affordable self-test ART kits, to bring down costs while ensuring that those authorised for sale in Singapore continue to meet stringent safety and quality standards.

 

16.     To this end, on 8 November 2021, HSA had authorised the Flowflex ART kit under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) for self-test use, bringing the total number of approved ART kits to nine. Additionally, two other ART kits have been approved to undergo PSAR registration. We expect these kits to be priced significantly below the current prices of ART kits.

 

Ongoing Updates to Border Measures

 

Review of Countries/ Regions Categories

 

17.     As part of our regular review of the COVID-19 situation in countries/ regions, we have updated the list of countries/ regions in the various categories. Details are in Annex B. These will be effective for arrivals from 18 November 2021, 2359 hours.

 

Extension of Vaccinated Travel Lanes to India, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates

 

18.     To-date, we have launched VTLs with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States; and we will be launching VTLs with Malaysia, Finland, and Sweden from 29 November 2021. Travellers under the VTLs are not subject to Stay-Home Notice (SHN) on arrival. Instead, they will be required to produce a negative Pre-Departure Test taken within two days prior to departure and undergo an on-arrival PCR test. 

 

19.     We intend to launch VTLs with India and Indonesia from 29 November 2021 and with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 6 December 2021. Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) applications for Short-Term Visitors and Long-Term Pass Holders will commence on 22 November 2021 for travellers from India and Indonesia; and 29 November for travellers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. Returning Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who are fully vaccinated will not need to apply for VTP in order to make use of the VTLs for travel. Travellers intending to travel from Singapore to these VTL countries / regions are advised to check the prevailing entry requirements of the destination.

 

20.     The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will provide more details separately.

 

Moving Steadily Towards a COVID-19 Resilient Singapore

 

21.     As we continue to adjust our measures progressively for a safe re-opening, we seek everyone’s continued effort and cooperation to exercise social responsibility and comply with all the VDS conditions and SMMs we have put in place. Test yourself regularly and follow the necessary health protocols. If you are offered a vaccination or booster dose, please also come forward and get vaccinated. This will ensure that our limited healthcare resources are effectively allocated to those in need and pave the way for us to be a COVID-19 resilient nation.

 

 

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

15 NOVEMBER 2021

 



[1] An individual is considered fully vaccinated if he / she has received the appropriate regimen of World Health Organisation Emergency Use Listing (WHO EUL) vaccines including their respective duration post-vaccination for the vaccine to be fully effective and had their vaccination records ingested in MOH’s national IT systems.

[2] With the exception of recovered workers.