Singapore relaxes few COVID restrictions from Jun 14 as number of new cases see dip

Seven are returning Singaporeans or permanent residents.As of Thursday, Singapore has reported 62,236 COVID-19 cases and 34 fatalities linked to the virus.

PTI | Singapore | Updated: 10-06-2021 15:38 IST | Created: 10-06-2021 15:22 IST
Singapore relaxes few COVID restrictions from Jun 14 as number of new cases see dip
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI
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Singapore will increase the limit on group sizes for social gatherings from two to five people per household from June 14, as the country begins to ease restrictions after recording a fall in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the community.

However, social gatherings should be limited to no more than two a day, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday, announcing the first step in Singapore's plan to move back to Phase III, also called ''Heightened Alert'', from June 14, which is a stage of controlling people movement to manage the spread of coronavirus.

Also working from home will remain the default arrangement, even as Singapore transitions to Phase III (Heightened Alert) in the coming weeks, according to a Channel News Asia report.

''Employers should ensure that employees who are able to work from home continue to do so,'' co-chair of the COVID-19 Multi-Ministry Task Force Lawrence Wong said at a press conference.

More restrictions will be eased in the second step from June 21, when dining in can resume if the COVID-19 situation remains under control in the coming weeks.

On why dining-in will only be allowed later, co-chair of the COVID-19 Multi-Ministry Task Force Gan Kim Yong said that the Government wants to make sure that the situation is "stable" before allowing dining-in to resume.

"Dining is considered a high-risk activity because masks are off," he said.

Food and beverage outlets must strictly observe at least 1-meter safe-distancing between groups of diners of no more than five people, said the MOH in a media release.

"We will be significantly stepping up enforcement and will take firmer enforcement action for any breaches,'' it added.

''Patrons are reminded to keep their masks on at all times, except when eating or drinking." Wedding receptions, which are currently not allowed, will be able to resume from June 21.

Gyms and fitness studios may similarly resume indoor sports activities with masks off from June 21, with the safe distancing of at least 2 metres between individuals and at least 3 metres between groups of up to 5 people.

Sports classes - both indoors and outdoors - will be capped at 30 people including the instructor, in groups of no more than five people.

In-person tuition and enrichment classes for those aged 18 years and below will be allowed to resume from June 21 with enhanced safety management measures, which will be announced by the Education Ministry, MOH said.

The easing of rules comes as the number of COVID-19 cases, both linked and unlinked, has fallen "progressively" over the last few weeks, Gan said.

"Fewer clusters are emerging, and generally smaller clusters, our aggressive tracking and testing regimes have also allowed us to detect and ringfence potential cases, much earlier, slowing down, and limiting the transmission in the community," the Channel quoted Gan as saying.

Limits on event sizes will also be increased.

Museums and public libraries will also be allowed to operate at an increased operating capacity of 50 percent.

To minimize the likelihood of large infection clusters, pre-event testing remains an "essential" measure to ensure that events can proceed safely for attendees, MOH said.

Congregational and other worship services, wedding receptions, and marriage solemnizations with higher attendance are among events that will require such testing.

Congregational and other worship services may take place from June 14 with up to 250 attendees with pre-event testing. Such testing will not be required for worship activities with 50 or fewer attendees. Unmasking and singing or playing of wind instruments at live performances during worship services however may only resume from June 21.

Wedding receptions will be allowed to resume with up to 100 attendees, including the wedding couple but excluding vendors, with pre-event testing required for all attendees.

For wedding receptions, up to 50 attendees, pre-event testing is required only for all members of the wedding party which has to be made up of up to 20 attendees including the wedding couple.

The government announced on May 14 that working from home will become the default for workplaces after a spike in COVID-19 community infections.

It was part of a slew of measures under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) aimed at bringing down the number of cases.

Meanwhile, Singapore reported 13 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, four of which were from the community or local.

Nine cases were imported through international air travel who had been placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore. Seven are returning Singaporeans or permanent residents.

As of Thursday, Singapore has reported 62,236 COVID-19 cases and 34 fatalities linked to the virus.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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