In recent developments around COVID-19, Singapore authorities are planning to simplify and make the pandemic-induced rules and restrictions more comprehensive. The country’s multi-ministry task force made the announcements at a press conference on 16 February 2022.

The revised rules will be applicable from 25 February and focus on the five most important factors: group sizes, wearing masks, workplace requirements, safe distancing and capacity limits.

Here’s all we know so far about the new safety measures

The announcement was made in the presence of the country’s Health Minister and task force co-chair Ong Ye Kung and Trade and Industry Minister and co-chair Gan Kim Yong. They clarified that these revised rules do not hint at their relaxation but will be in tandem with the present condition.

The announcements come at a time when Singapore is witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The country saw its highest single-day spike on 15 February when 19,420 cases were reported. Of these, 19,179 were local cases and the rest imported.

Kung said, “These rules have accumulated over the past two years and become quite unwieldy. By streamlining them, we can adopt a posture that will better enable us to open up when the time is right.”

Limit on social gatherings

The task force has announced some revised rules and restrictions pertaining to social gatherings and events. From 25 February, social distancing will not be mandatory if all in attendance are wearing masks. However, resorting to social distancing will be compulsory when without masks, the Health Minister announced at a separate press conference.

The size of the group at any social gathering is capped at five. But the maximum number of unique visitors per household will be adjusted from five people per day to five people at any one time.

Workplace restrictions

Social gatherings at workplaces will be allowed to resume with a maximum capacity of five people. According to the CNA report, “50 percent of employees who can work from home will continue to be allowed back at the office.”

Other rules will be streamlined and imposed in accordance with the setting. For instance, even at workplaces, the safe distancing rule will become mandatory only when not wearing a mask.

Size of venue will determine maximum headcount

singapore covid measures

The Health Minister also added that there will no longer be a cap on particular headcounts, but the size of the venue will determine the maximum capacity. This will come into force from 4 March 2022.

However, this is subject to change in the case of large gatherings like on cruises, MICE work and work meets. In such cases, there will be a restraint on the maximum capacity. Shopping malls and stores will work with 50 percent visitors at a time with the maximum heads capped at 1,000.

COVID-19 testing rules

Routine testing will not be mandatory from 18 February and only those working with COVID-19 patients and health workers will have to continue.

This is done to reduce the burden and workload of the hospitals and allow general medical practitioners to treat COVID-19 symptoms.

Travel restrictions

People arriving in Singapore from 21 February will also face reduced border restrictions. The government is looking at clubbing all existing travel restrictions under one umbrella of the ‘general travel’ category, and those countries which require close monitoring will fall under the ‘restricted’ travel category. VTL travel is also opening up to more countries.

The Health Ministry also said, “Our focus has thus shifted to facilitating inflows from travellers who are less likely to become severely ill and burden our healthcare capacity while they are in Singapore.”

(Main and feature image credits: Guo Xin Goh/Unsplash)

written by.
Trinetra Paul
An ardent foodie, Trinetra seeks every opportunity of travelling and writing. Storytelling and slam poetry are her go-to jam. Her lazying around ideas includes binge watching and whipping up some snacks or searching the next place to visit.

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