Healthcare, F&B, public sector workers to be vaccinated or undergo COVID-19 self-test from Oct 1

Workers in these high-risk sectors will have to undergo the antigen rapid test twice a week or be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Noreen Shazreen

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Published: 6 August 2021, 8:24 PM

Frontline workers in high-risk sectors must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular COVID-19 testing, announced the co-chair of the multi-ministry task force (MTF) Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Aug 6).

These include employees in sectors such as healthcare, food and beverage (F&B), as well as public service. 

Those who are unvaccinated will have to undergo the regular COVID-19 test regime, where they will be tested with an antigen rapid test (ART) kit twice a week, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Employees will receive subsidies for the ART kits only if they are medically ineligible to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

The ‘vaccine or regular test regime’ serves three purposes – to broaden Singapore’s vaccine coverage, detect infections early and mitigate transmission risks.

The new regime will be implemented in three work settings.

The first setting is the healthcare and eldercare sectors, as well as environments with children aged 12 and below. The regime will be implemented for workers in these sectors to protect vulnerable groups of the population.

The second setting involves employees working in higher-risk, mask-off environments where they are required to interact with customers. 

These include employees in F&B establishments, gyms and fitness studios, and personal care services. They will have to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. 

Lastly, the regime will also apply to all employees in the public sector, including those in uniformed services. More than 94 per cent of public service workers have also been vaccinated.

MOH said that the new regulations will take effect from Oct 1 to allow workers in these selected sectors more time to get their vaccines.

“Although Singapore’s vaccination rates are one of the highest in the world, we need to continue to expand our vaccine coverage,” MOH said.

At a press conference held on Friday, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong also reinforced the importance of frontline workers in these settings being vaccinated as Singapore eases restrictions for vaccinated people to engage in more activities.

Mr Wong, who is the co-chair of the MTF tackling the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore, said that the ‘vaccinate or regular test’ regime will help to protect these workers, their coworkers and the public.

In addition, Mr Gan has also urged those who have not been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.

As of Thursday (Aug 5), over 78 per cent of the population had received at least their first dose. Nearly two-thirds of the population have also been fully vaccinated.

As vaccination rates in Singapore continue to increase by about 1 per cent each day, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the authorities are confident that more than 70 per cent of its population will be fully vaccinated by National Day.

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