Singapore is moving closer toward pre-pandemic living


Singapore is set to ease most Covid measures from April 26, authorities said.

Lauryn Ishak | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore is set to remove nearly all virus safety measures from Tuesday as the city-state seeks to return to pre-Covid living, authorities announced on Friday.

There will be no more social distancing or limits to the number of people at social gatherings.

Fully vaccinated travelers will no longer need to take Covid tests before departing for Singapore. On-arrival tests have been waived since April 1.

“Things continue to look up for us. Our social resilience is strong and now we are in a comfortable position. We can therefore afford to take further steps to restore pre Covid-19 normalcy,” said Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s health minister.

“However, given the risk over the horizon, we should not declare a Freedom Day until the pandemic is truly over. Instead, we will step down but not dismantle our measures completely,” he added.

From April 26, social gatherings will no longer be limited to 10 people, all workers can return to their workplaces, and most larger events spaces can be used at 100% of their capacity. Contact tracing will also largely be stopped.

Today’s announcement [marks] a significant milestone in our journey. I would like to encourage everyone to remain vigilant as the situation can change quickly.

Gan Kim Yong

Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry

People will not need to keep 1 meter apart.

Masks will still be required in nearly all indoor settings. An exception will be made for people at their workplaces if they are not physically interacting and not in customer-facing areas.

“Today’s announcement [marks] a significant milestone in our journey. I would like to encourage everyone to remain vigilant as the situation can change quickly,” said Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong.

“The government will also continue to monitor both the local and global situation closely so that we can respond quickly to any development,” he said.

Separate rules for unvaccinated people will mostly be removed, with some exceptions.

Those who are not vaccinated will still not be allowed to dine in, or participate in events with more than 500 people. Neither can they visit nightlife establishments where dancing is involved.

That said, food and beverage outlets won’t be required to check the vaccination statuses of customers, the health ministry said in a press release.

Currently, people who are unvaccinated are not allowed to visit malls, attractions or even enter their workplaces.

Singapore’s Covid situation

Singapore reported 3,420 cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, with infections continuing to fall from a record 26,032 infections on Feb. 22.

Most people infected in Singapore have mild or no symptoms.

The Southeast Asian country eased some Covid measures at the end of March. In mid-April, nightlife businesses such as clubs and karaoke establishments were allowed to reopen after about two years.

Around 92% of the population has completed the primary vaccination series as of Thursday, while 73% has received boosters.

The government also announced Friday that those who are 12 years and above who have recovered from Covid will now need to receive boosters within nine months of their last dose to maintain their vaccinated status.

Second boosters will also be allowed for those between 60- and 79-years-old on a voluntary basis, though it is only recommended for those who are 80 and above.

This article was originally published on CNBC