Five things youth should know about COVID-19 measures as Singapore moves into Transition Phase from Nov 22

Social gathering sizes are back up to five, as authorities relax the safe management measures.

Nigel Chin

Started writing for the passion. Now writing because it’s the only thing I can do.

Published: 20 November 2021, 4:32 PM

Singapore will end its Stabilisation Phase and move into the Transition Phase on Nov 22, as authorities relax the country’s COVID-19 rules. 

This comes as the COVID-19 cases in Singapore have remained stable. Daily cases numbers have fallen below 3,000 per day on average, and close to 99 per cent have mild or no symptoms. 

“We are now in a better position to further relax the safe management measures,” said the co-chair of the Multi Ministry Taskforce for COVID-19 (MTF) Gan Kim Yong. 

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong added that the MTF will try its best to avoid rolling back any measures as well. 

Here are five things youth should know about Singapore’s COVID-19 measures, beginning on Nov 22. 

1. Social gathering sizes increased to five

The gathering sizes for fully vaccinated people, including those from different households, have been increased. 

Arguably the one rule that most people are looking forward to, this will also apply to the limit for dining in at F&B establishments. Likewise, the cap on unique household visitors will also increase to five. 

However, the taskforce also urged those who are visiting households that have an unvaccinated person or vulnerable elderly to test themselves prior to the visit to ensure they do not unwittingly transmit COVID-19 to those who are vulnerable. 

2. Dining in at hawker centres, coffee shops

Coffee shops and hawker centres can also allow groups of up to five people to dine-in at its premises from Tuesday (Nov 23), but only if vaccination checks are implemented. 

Those that are unable to implement the checks can only allow groups of up to two. 

As for those who are unvaccinated, they are still not allowed to dine in and can only continue to take away food. However, children aged 12 and below can be included in the groups of five, as long as they are all from the same household. 

Those who are medically ineligible to take the COVID-19 vaccination can be included, but from Dec 1.

3. Easing of rules for weddings, VDMs for public libraries

From Monday, wedding couples can remain unmasked throughout the reception or at solemnisation. Members of the wedding party will be allowed to sing at the reception too, subjected to additional precautions. 

Wedding couples and individuals involved in the wedding will have to take an antigen rapid test (ART), supervised by the venue operator, or have a valid pre-event test result within 24 hours before the event. 

Vaccination-differentiated measures will also be expanded to all public libraries, as well as selected activities in community clubs or centres under the People’s Association. 

However, attractions’ capacity limits and workplace restrictions still remain the same.

4. COVID-19 booster shots interval reduced to five months

From Wednesday, all Singaporeans eligible for COVID-19 booster shots can now get them five months after they received their second COVID-19 jab. 

This means that half of the Singapore population would likely receive their booster shots by the end of this year. 

The interval rate for receiving boosters was reduced from six months to five months following recommendation from the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination. 

Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung also stressed that the third dose is crucial, due to the Delta variant. 

“At some point, we will need everyone who has two doses of vaccine to get a third one,” said Mr Ong, who added that there is an emerging view among clinical and scientific communities that the COVID-19 vaccine is a three-dose vaccine because of the Delta variant. 

Invitation for booster shots will be sent out via SMS before the five-month interval.

For those who are already eligible, but have not received their SMS invitations, they can also walk in to any Moderna vaccination centre to receive their booster vaccination without a need to book an appointment.

5. More easing could come around end-December

Mr Wong, who also co-chairs the MTF, added that the COVID-19 situation will be monitored over the next few weeks and if it remains stable, authorities will “consider the next series of moves” around end-December. 

However, he cautioned that it won’t be a “big-bang approach”. 

“This approach will require all of us to be patient, to be disciplined and to exercise social responsibility,” he said. 

“But we are confident that this approach in the longer term will yield better results, will minimise casualties and will, importantly, allow us steady progress towards becoming a COVID-resiliient nation.” 

The authorities also urged Singaporeans to remain vigilant and exercise social responsibility. Singaporeans should not rush to celebrate or have multiple gatherings, as that could see cases multiply and set Singapore back once again in its reopening. 

Acknowledging the “pent-up demand” from people who want to head out during year-end festival period, Mr Ong said: “So as far as possible, we don’t want to do an opening move that’s significant in the month of December, because we risk once opening, social activities will spike up very high, and it can drive and spark off a new wave.”

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