News Highlights

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

10 Jun 2022

10th Jun 2022

Our local epidemic situation has been stable over the past month, despite having stood down most of our Safe Management Measures (SMMs) and the opening up of our borders. The daily average local case count is around 3,000 per day, the average number of COVID-19 related hospitalisation has stayed lower than 300 (compared to a peak of around 1,700 during the Omicron wave), and COVID-19 related Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients are in the single digits.

2. However, we must continue to stay vigilant against the risk of a new wave of cases, as immunity in our population wanes in the coming months and new variants may emerge. As such, we will keep the requirement for indoor masking. We also strongly urge eligible individuals who have not received their primary series and booster vaccinations to do so quickly, so as to protect themselves from the risk of severe illness should a new infection wave emerge in the next couple of months. As we progressively return to normalcy and learn to live with COVID-19, we will also begin to scale back the pandemic subsidy provisions for COVID-19-related treatments.

Updates on Community SMMs

Mask-Wearing

3. Since 26 April 2022, we have removed most of the SMMs 1-5, except for the indoor masking requirement which will be retained as a key line of defence against community transmission. (Refer to Annex A for overview of SMMs 1-5.)

Nightlife Establishments

4. From 14 June 2022, nightlife establishments with dancing among patrons will no longer be subjected to a capacity limit, and patrons will not need to obtain a negative Antigen Rapid Test (ART) result to enter the venue. This will rationalise the rules for night spots with other social settings. However, Vaccination-Differentiated SMMs (VDS) will continue to apply, and operators will still be required to conduct VDS checks to ensure that only fully-vaccinated persons enter these settings. Random checks may be conducted by enforcement officers to ensure that operators comply with the requirement for VDS checks.

Transition from Exit Pass Requirement to New Popular Places Pass for Migrant Workers Residing in Dormitories

5. From 24 June 2022, migrant workers (MWs) residing in dormitories will no longer need an exit pass to visit community areas. To manage crowding at popular places, we will introduce a new mechanism to manage the high footfall at four locations – Chinatown, Geylang Serai, Jurong East and Little India. If an MW wishes to visit one of these popular locations during Sundays and public holidays, he will have to apply for a visit pass. Up to 80,000 such passes will be made available in total per Sunday or public holiday. For a start there will be 30,000 passes for Little India, 20,000 for Jurong East, and 15,000 for each of the remaining two locations. No passes will be needed if MWs are visiting community areas including popular places on weekdays, Saturdays or non-public holidays, or if they are visiting other locations in Singapore on Sundays and public holidays.

 

Updates on COVID-19 Vaccination

6. Our vaccination coverage continues to be high. 95.9% and 91.7% of our eligible population have completed their primary series and first booster vaccinations respectively. As for the second booster dose, as of 8 June 2022, 49.3% of persons aged 80 and above who are eligible have either booked an appointment or already received them. As we take further strides towards normalcy and ease our community SMMs, vaccinations and boosters become even more critical to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

7. We strongly urge the remaining eligible individuals, particularly our seniors who are more vulnerable to severe disease if they were to become infected by COVID-19, to come forth for their vaccination and boosters, as soon as possible. The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be mounting further efforts to increase our booster rates, and details will be announced shortly.

Facilitating Second Boosters for Medically Vulnerable persons aged 18 and above

8. Medically vulnerable persons are one of the groups of persons recommended by the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V) to receive a second booster dose.

9. From 1 July 2022, medically vulnerable persons with specific health conditions[1], may self-declare their health conditions to receive their second booster by walking into any Vaccination Centre, Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) and polyclinics that offer vaccinations. To facilitate their vaccination, they will no longer require a doctor’s referral to receive their second booster. Other medically vulnerable persons will continue to be able to receive the second booster by providing a referral memo from their treating doctors. More details on the template of the self-declaration form will be announced in the coming weeks via MOH’s website.

Allowing persons aged 50 to 59 to receive Second Booster

10.  We previously announced on 22 April 2022 that persons aged 60 to 79 years will be allowed to take their second booster about five months after receiving their first booster, if they wish to. Since then, EC19V has assessed that persons aged 50 to 59 years who wish to take their second booster may also do so at about five months after their first booster. This is in view of data indicating that the risk of severe COVID-19 increases in the age group of 50 to 59 as well. This is also around the age when chronic diseases start to set in. Hence from 10 June 2022, persons aged 50 years and above who wish to receive their second booster may do so by walking into any Vaccination Centre offering mRNA vaccines.

Recommended interval between primary series vaccination doses

11. The current minimum interval between the first two doses will continue to be 21 days for the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Novavax/Nuvaxovid vaccines and 28 days for Moderna/Spikevax and Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccines. This helped to expedite early protection against COVID-19 during the acute phase of the pandemic. Recent international data has shown that a wider gap of eight weeks between the initial two doses of COVID-19 primary series vaccinations may provide better vaccine protection for individuals. We encourage individuals who are taking their primary series to book their first two doses eight weeks apart. But those who need to complete their primary series sooner, particularly those who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 or more susceptible to severe disease, may opt for a shorter interval between the two doses as long as it is not below the minimum interval.

Private Vaccination Programme Extended to All

12. We previously announced that Short-Term Visitors to Singapore aged 18 years and above could receive paid Moderna/Spikevax vaccinations and boosters under the Private Vaccination Programme (PVP). We will now extend the PVP to all individuals in Singapore who are aged 18 and above, including local residents. This will allow individuals who wish to take additional vaccine doses, but who do not qualify under the National Vaccination Programme, to do so based on a doctor’s assessment. Please refer to vaccine.gov.sg for the updated list of PVP providers. As this is a private arrangement, the vaccinations under the PVP will be at the individual’s own cost.

Updates on COVID-19 Financing Schemes

13. In Singapore, healthcare support in the form of S+3Ms (Government Subsidies, MediSave, MediShield Life and MediFund) are extended broadly to all Singaporeans. Notwithstanding, as part of our pandemic response, COVID-19 treatments have been provided at a very low fee or free of charge, going beyond the regular S+3Ms. As life reverts to normal and we increasingly live with COVID-19 as an endemic disease, we will need to progressively scale back the pandemic subsidy policy, and revert to the S+3Ms healthcare financing frameworks.


Reverting to Pre-COVID-19 Subsidy Policy for Respiratory Infection Treatment at Public Health Preparedness Clinics

14. Since February 2020, more than 1,000 PHPCs have been activated to provide subsidised care for patients with respiratory infection symptoms, whether due to COVID-19 or not. Singapore residents pay a flat subsidised rate of $10 and seniors from the Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation pay a lower rate of $5. From 1 July 2022, 0001 hours, subsidies at PHPCs and polyclinics for the treatment of respiratory infections will revert to pre-COVID-19 levels. The $10/$5 fee will no longer apply, but Singaporeans will continue to enjoy prevailing subsidies under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) at CHAS General Practitioner (GP) clinics.


15. The above does not affect ART and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, where PHPCs and polyclinics will continue to provide government-funded swabs to eligible symptomatic individuals at no charge.


Cessation of Government-Subsidised Telemedicine care for Individuals on Protocol 2

16. Currently, individuals under Protocol 2, i.e. mildly symptomatic, low risk, and recovering from home, and who requested for telemedicine care enjoys full subsidy. In line with the above change for PHPCs, from 1 July 2022, 0001 hours, we will revert the subsidy policy to pre-COVID-19 arrangements. Full subsidy for the telemedicine will cease, but Singaporeans will continue to enjoy CHAS subsidies if they visit a CHAS GP clinic for treatment. Individuals under Protocol 1, i.e. those at high medical risk or with severe symptoms, but are discharged home for recovery and under telemedicine surveillance, will continue to enjoy fully subsidised telemedicine care.

 

Updates to COVID-19 Treatment Coverage in Hospitals

17. Currently, Singapore Citizens/ Permanent Residents /Long-Term Pass Holders (SC/PR/LTPHs) who seek emergency treatment for COVID-19 in Emergency Departments (ED) of public acute hospitals do not have to pay any ED charges if they are fully vaccinated, or certified to be medically ineligible for vaccination. From 1 July 2022, 0001 hours, this will no longer apply to those who do not require admission after visiting the ED. Those who are assessed to require hospital or COVID-19 Treatment Facility (CTF) admission for COVID-19 treatment will continue to have their ED, inpatient and/or CTF bills fully subsidised by the government, if they are fully vaccinated or certified to be medically ineligible for vaccination. This will help MOH manage the demand for ED services, to those who need them.

Towards COVID-19 Resilience

18. Our daily caseloads have remained under control even with the significant easing of our community SMMs and border measures. However, new variants will continue to emerge, and we must stay vigilant. As part of ongoing COVID-19 surveillance, the Ministry of Health will continue to monitor for virus strains introduced into and circulating in the community by requiring some infected individuals to take an additional government-funded PCR swab for genomic sequencing. We urge everyone to still take the necessary precautions and remain socially responsible to protect themselves and others, even as we move towards normalcy and living safely with COVID-19.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

10 JUNE 2022



[1] Please refer to the Annex in the press release on EC19V’s recommendations dated 10 June 2022. These include medical conditions include chronic diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and other organ systems.