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Singapore is starting to ease Covid restrictions as daily infections decline



A woman wearing a face mask as a precaution against Covid-19 walks along the promenade at Marina Bay in Singapore on May 4, 2020.

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SINGAPORE – The Singapore government on Thursday said it would start easing Covid-related restrictions as the number of daily infections has dropped.

The Southeast Asian country last month tightened social distancing measures to curb an increase in local Covid-1

9 infections. These measures, which do not include food and beverage dining and smaller social gatherings, have been in place since mid-May.

From Monday, Singapore will allow five-person social gatherings – an increase from the current two-person limit.

Restrictions on attendees and operating capacity at venues such as public libraries and museums will also be eased, the government said.

We need to learn to live with the virus and then do our best to minimize transmission and minimize the risk of large clusters breaking out.

Lawrence Wong

Singapore Minister of Finance

There will be further easing of the restrictions from 21 June. Activities such as dining as well as some masking activities in gyms and gyms are allowed to resume with some social distancing measures in place.

However, working from home will remain standard for those who can do so, the government said.

Local infections in Singapore have dropped to single-digit levels in recent days. In total, the country has reported more than 62,000 cases since the beginning of last year with 34 deaths as of Wednesday, data from the Ministry of Health show.

But Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, chairman of Singapore’s Covid Task Force, said the country should be prepared to see more cases when it opens up. He added that the country must continue its vaccination and testing efforts to mitigate large clusters of infections in the community.

“We will have to learn to live with the virus and then do our best to minimize transmission and minimize the risk of large clusters breaking out,” Wong said at a media briefing on Thursday.

Vaccination progress

Singapore said about 2.5 million people have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. That is about 40% of the population.

From Friday, the country allows people from 12 to 39 years to sign up for vaccination.

Wong said Singapore aims to have 50% of the population fully vaccinated by August. By October, the number would reach 75% or more, he added.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said vaccinated people receiving Covid-19 have slightly less severe symptoms than those without vaccination.

Ong said that of all the cases since April 11, about 9% of unvaccinated, infected people required additional oxygen or intensive care. Less than 1% of the fully vaccinated people who became infected needed supplemental oxygen or intensive care, he added.


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