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07 Jul 2021

7th Jul 2021

        It has been about two months since Singapore entered a state of Heightened Alert. Through the cooperation and efforts of everyone, we have managed to stabilise community infections and contain the spread of local clusters. Following the two stages of gradual reopening to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) on 14 June and 21 June 2021, we will continue to calibrate the resumption of more economic and community activities. 

Updates on Local Situation

2.      As at 5 July 2021, the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 86 cases in the week before to 28 cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from 14 cases in the week before to 4 cases in the past week. 

3.      Although we have seen a small number of cases that have surfaced, such as the ones around 105 Henderson Crescent and 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre, we have managed to identify and ringfence the spread through aggressive COVID testing operations and active surveillance in the community. We have slowed down the chains of transmission and are now in a position to ease some community measures further.

Updates to Safe Management Measures in Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from 12 July 2021

4.       The following updated measures will take effect from 12 July 2021 (please refer to Annex A for full details on the updated safe management measures (SMMs), including for other activities where applicable):

5.       Group sizes at Food & Beverage (F&B) establishments. Groups of up to 5 persons will be able to dine-in at F&B establishments. This is aligned with the social gathering group size allowed today. Dining-in remains a higher-risk activity because many people are unmasked and in close proximity with one another. Hence entertainment at F&B establishments, e.g. live entertainment, recorded music, and videos/TV screening, will continue to be prohibited in order to reduce the expulsion of droplets from individuals having to raise their voices over the entertainment. Patrons are reminded to adhere to all other SMMs, e.g. social distancing and keeping masks on at all times except when eating or drinking.

6.      Resumption of wedding receptions. Wedding receptions may resume from 12 July 2021, with no more than 250 persons allowed with Pre-Event Testing (PET). For wedding receptions with 50 persons or less, PET will be required for the wedding party only. As wedding receptions are higher-risk activities where attendees tend to socialise more and over a longer period of time, attendees must adhere to all other SMMs to reduce the risk of transmission. Refer to MSF’s advisory for further details. 

7.      Indoor high-intensity/ mask-off sports/ exercise activities. Gyms and fitness studios may conduct indoor mask-off sports/ exercise activities in group sizes of up to 5 persons, similar to indoor mask-on and outdoor activities. Sports and exercise classes can continue in groups of no more than 5 persons, in classes of up to 50 persons including the instructor, or the capacity limit of the venue, whichever is lower. SportSG will release more details on this.

8.      Social gatherings at the workplace. Work-from-home will continue to remain the default arrangement so as to reduce overall interaction within workplaces and on public transport. Employers are reminded to ensure the practice continues, and for employees that need to come to the workplace, to stagger their start times and implement flexible working hours. Social and recreational gatherings at the workplace will be allowed but must be limited to a total size of no more than 5 persons in line with the broader community rules.

Targeted Support Measures

9.      As announced earlier, the Government enhanced the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for affected sectors from 16 May to 11 July. With the gradual resumption of more economic and community activities, JSS support for these affected sectors will be tapered to 10% for two weeks from 12 to 25 July. Please refer to Annex B for the JSS levels of support for affected sectors.  

Updates to Regular Fast and Easy Tests for Staff Involved in Higher-Risk Activities

10.      We had earlier announced a progressive roll-out of Fast and Easy Tests (FETs) for staff in higher-risk settings. Since then, we have been working with the businesses to commence FET Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) via Employer-Supervised Self Swab or at Quick Test Centres. Many of the systems are now in place and therefore, from 15 July 2021, FET RRT will be made mandatory for all staff in the following higher-risk settings:  

a.  Dine-in F&B establishments;
b.  Personal care services (e.g. facial and nail services, spas/ saunas, massage establishments, hairdressing, and make-up services); and
c.  Gyms and fitness studios where clients are unmasked. 

Increasing Access to ART Test Kits 

11.     We had earlier announced that Over-the-Counter Antigen Rapid Tests (OTC ARTs) would be made available at designated local retail pharmacies from 16 June 2021. From 16 July 2021, we will extend the sale of these ART self-test kits to more general retailers like supermarkets and convenience stores. We will also lift the restriction that caps OTC ART sales at 10 kits per individual. With this, more individuals, particularly those who do not have acute respiratory infection symptoms, can test themselves if they are concerned about potential exposure to COVID-19.

Deployment of SafeEntry and SafeEntry Gateway for all Supermarkets

12.     We have observed that there is a high volume of patrons in supermarkets, which increases the risk of transmission. To facilitate more targeted contact tracing for individuals who have overlapping visits with infected persons in indoor buildings, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE) and SafeEntry Gateway (SEGW) check-in requirements will be re-introduced at supermarkets located within TT-only SE buildings with the same operating hours. This will take effect from 21 July 2021. Other supermarkets, e.g. standalone supermarkets, that have been implementing TT-only SE and SEGW check-in facilities will continue to do so. Customers of all supermarkets must check in with their TraceTogether (TT) App or Token using the SEGW, or by scanning the SafeEntry (SE) QR code with the TT App. We encourage all members of public to comply with SE check-in requirements and to carry their TT Token or keep their TT App active to facilitate contact tracing, and help protect themselves and their loved ones.

Further Changes to be Made Upon 50% of the Population Completing the Full Vaccination Regimen

13.     As Singapore’s vaccination coverage continues to increase, we will introduce differentiated SMMs for vaccinated persons. This will allow individuals who have been fully vaccinated under the national vaccination programme to participate in more community and economic activities. When more people are vaccinated, it reduces the risk of spread from an infected person to another, in particular a non-vaccinated person who is more vulnerable to the disease. 

14.     In particular, we are considering the following measures if the situation continues to be stable and when at least half of the population has completed the full vaccination regimen, which is expected to be around end-July 2021:

a.  Social gathering group sizes may increase to 8 persons;

b.  For activities/venues such as cinemas, congregational worship, MICE events, live performances, spectator sports and wedding solemnizations, we could allow a doubling in the group size if they are attended by fully vaccinated persons1, i.e. up to 500 persons may be allowed;

c.  For higher-risk, indoor mask-off activities (e.g. F&B dine-in), we could differentiate the guidelines such that a group size of up to 8 persons may be allowed only for fully vaccinated persons. Otherwise, the group size will remain at 5 persons;  

d. Work-from-home will continue to remain the default, but more may be allowed to return to the workplace based on the percentage of total employees who are fully vaccinated.

Further details on the above measures and other changes will be announced nearer the implementation date. 

Towards a COVID-19 Endemic Singapore

15.     We have made significant progress in vaccinating the Singapore population since the start of this year and we must not lose our momentum. Even as we plan our transition and public health measures around vaccination milestones, we urge everyone who is eligible to step forward and get vaccinated as soon as possible. We also encourage those who have their second dose appointments scheduled 6 to 8 weeks from their first dose, to bring forward their second dose appointments to 4 weeks. Any further steps towards reopening and a Singapore with endemic COVID-19 will only be possible when more of our population is protected through vaccination. 


MINISTRY OF HEALTH
7 JULY 2021



1 Fully vaccinated individuals would have received both doses of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna vaccine, with an additional two weeks after the second dose for optimal protection. Recovered individuals would also qualify as they would have developed immunity against the virus. We are mindful about those who are still unvaccinated or are medically ineligible for the two mRNA vaccines, including children 12 years and below. We are considering separate provisions for this group, e.g. allow them to qualify based on a pre-event test, or allow children to qualify, but up to a limit.