People walk at a pedestrian crossing along the Orchard Road shopping district in Singapore on September 7, 2021.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images
SINGAPORE – Singapore announced on Saturday that it would further tighten COVID regulations on unvaccinated individuals. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong predicted that it would take three to six months for life to reach the “new normal” with Covid.
Singapore’s health ministry said the move was aimed at protecting unvaccinated people.
Singapore’s trade minister and co-chair of the government’s coronavirus task force, Gan Kim Young, told a briefing on Saturday that people without vaccinations could no longer enter malls. He said that even people who have been vaccinated will have two restrictions while entering the mall.
Unvaccinated people are also not allowed to eat in coffee shops or food centers. Previously, outdoor dining facilities were allowed in the country, limited to 2 people per table.
These restrictions will start from Wednesday.
In a speech on Saturday, Lee detailed when Singapore’s “new normal” could happen.
“How can we know when we reach a new normal? Only then can we relax and ease restrictions. [safe management measures] “When the hospital can reopen as usual, reopen as before, and see the crowds again,” Lee said, “I am worried and uncomfortable.”
He urged the country not to be “paralyzed by fear”, saying “sooner or later we will all face the virus, which means all old people will also face the virus.” ..
He said regions like Europe have reached this state, but that many lives were lost, “paying a fortune.”
“It will take at least three months and maybe six months to reach this new standard,” Lee said.
Singapore maintained its zero-Covid strategy for most of its pandemic, but began opening up after vaccination coverage of the population exceeded 80%. As of 7 October, 83% of the population has completed two doses of the COVID vaccine.
However, after the restrictions were eased, the number of cases started skyrocketing, reaching daily highs in the past few days, crossing 3,400.
Last month, Singapore authorities strengthened COVID measures to delay community transmission and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. They reduced the group size of social gatherings from five to two, set work from home as the default, and encouraged vulnerable people such as the elderly to stay at home as much as possible.
Till Friday, the total number of infected was 120,454 and 142 people had died. However, according to the Ministry of Health, 98.4% of the infected people have been asymptomatic or mild-symptomatic in the last 28 days.