PC: The Indian Express

Singapore will begin allowing passengers who are not completely immunized to skip quarantine upon arrival on Monday, the authorities said on Wednesday.

Additionally, the nation will no longer be required to wear interior masks starting on August 29 in an effort to move closer to covid adoption.

Although the further easing of security and border controls is a “significant milestone,” the nation must still “be mentally prepared for any sudden change because we don’t know how this virus will mutate and what the next variant will look like,” according to Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s deputy prime minister and the task force’s co-chair.

Visitors who have not received all needed vaccinations must nonetheless test negative for Covid within two days of arriving in Singapore. However, they will no longer be required to spend a week in their housing or at home.

Right now, passengers who have received all necessary vaccinations can enter Singapore without having to submit to Covid-19 tests or endure quarantine.

Long-term and short-term non-vaccinated visitors who are 13 years of age or older must currently apply for entry approval in order to enter Singapore. The Ministry of Health has announced that starting on Monday, this need would be removed.

Mask requirements will drop
As of Monday, masks will be optional inside and necessary in specific circumstances, such as on public transportation and in medical facilities including hospitals, residential care facilities, and ambulances. In the airport, private vehicles, and taxis, they are not required.

Wong, who serves as the nation’s finance minister, explained why: “We have identified sites where critical services are being carried out in enclosed, crowded spaces and which are regularly used by vulnerable citizens.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the initial announcement of the plan to remove the mask restrictions on Sunday.

Masks are currently required in almost all indoor locations, with the exception of places of employment where there is minimal physical interaction or spaces that are visible to customers.

From the perspective of workplace safety, businesses and employers are free to decide whether or not they might want to do this. Mask wear is no longer required, although it is still optional, according to Wong.

Booster packs
A second mRNA Covid booster is now advised for people 60 years of age and older in anticipation of the upcoming wave of omicron.

Second boosters were previously exclusively advised for people 80 years of age and older.

As of Monday, 93% of the population had finished their main vaccinations, while 79% had received booster shots.

According to Singapore’s health minister Ong Ye Kung, the country’s ability to weather the current Covid epidemic is due in large part to its high booster rate.

Even if the first booster has offered this age group strong protection against severe illnesses, Ong emphasised the necessity to extend the recommendations of second boosters to individuals who are 60 to 79 years old — five months after their first booster.

Five months following the second dose of their primary vaccine series, the health ministry also advised that children between the ages of 5 and 11 have one booster shot to increase their protection.

Singapore’s COVID predicament
Plans have been made for a possible future Covid wave, which may occur in the winter, according to Wong.

Wong stated at the news conference on Wednesday that “we are continuing to monitor closely and we have drawer plans in place for various possibilities including scaling up our healthcare capacity as well as… vaccination activities if and when the need arises.”

If there is an aggressive and hazardous Covid wave, these strategies will “give us time,” he continued.

As of Tuesday, the average number of illnesses per day over a seven-day period was 2,700, down from a record 26,032 cases on February 22. The majority of infected people in Singapore exhibit minimal or no symptoms.

At the end of April, the nation in Southeast Asia significantly loosened COVID regulations. The requirement that people remain one metre apart and that social gatherings be limited to 10 persons will no longer apply.

With few exceptions, special regulations for those who are not immunised were also repealed in April.

Unvaccinated people will still be barred from dining establishments and activities with more than 500 attendees. They are also prohibited from going to places with dancing in the nighttime.

However, according to a news statement from the health ministry, food and beverage establishments won’t be forced to inquire about their patrons’ immunisation records.