Students will be vaccinated next in the June holidays, while adults aged 39 and below will be vaccinated from mid-June.
Singapore is aiming for two-thirds of residents to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by early July, while everyone eligible for a vaccination should be able to get the first dose by National Day.
The remark was made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his televised speech on Monday (May 31), as he addressed Singapore’s plans to keep the coronavirus under control while progressively opening the country up again.
From Tuesday, students who are 12 years old and above can book their vaccination appointments. Priority will be given to the graduating cohorts for O-, N- and A-Levels, as well as special needs students.
Once the vaccination for students is done, Singapore will vaccinate young adults 39 years and younger. PM Lee said the vaccination for young adults is expected to start around mid-June.
“This group is quite large. Therefore, we will give the Singaporeans among them a two-week priority window to book your appointments first before we open up generally to the rest who want to be vaccinated,” said PM Lee.
PM Lee also noted in his speech that in the two weeks since the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) started, the number of daily COVID-19 cases has come down. He added that authorities should know for sure in about a week if the outbreak is under control.
“If our situation continues to improve and the number of community cases falls further, we should be able to relax the restrictions after Jun 13,” said PM Lee.
At the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force, co-chair and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong added that it is unlikely that Singapore will return back to Phase 3 immediately. Instead, Singapore will gradually relax its restrictions instead.
Other methods that authorities are using to keep COVID-19 under control in Singapore include more testing and faster contact tracing.
On the testing front, PM Lee said Singapore will test faster, as well as more liberally and extensively.
“This will enable us to detect COVID-19 cases more quickly. So that we can isolate them and ringfence their contacts promptly, before the virus spreads further,” said PM Lee.
He also explained that anyone who visits a general practitioner or a polyclinic with an acute respiratory infection will be given antigen rapid tests (ART) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.
An ART allows for faster testing, albeit not as sensitive, with results available within 30 minutes.
“If the result is positive, you can immediately be isolated. And the PCR test will confirm your diagnosis later, which may take a day or two. That way we reduce your chances of infecting others, if you are already ill but don’t realise it,” PM Lee explained.
DIY test kits will be made available at pharmacies soon too. PM Lee said these are “simple to use and not so uncomfortable”.
“You can administer these on your own if you are worried that you may have COVID-19 and want to put your mind at ease, or if you are a frontline worker and want to test yourself frequently or even daily,” said PM Lee.
“These alternatives to PCR tests help us detect and isolate persons quickly when they are most infectious. This will be a big help in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.”
These tests also allow testing to be done at more workplaces, like offices, restaurants and shopping malls. Those whose occupations involve close contact with many people and could result in superspreading events, such as taxi drivers, performers, masseurs and educators, could all be tested more regularly.
Extensive testing will give Singapore the confidence to resume larger-scale gatherings, said PM Lee, adding that Singaporeans should expect routine, large-scale, fast and simple testing to be part of the new normal.
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