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‘Return to Phase 2’: Cap on gathering size, daily number of visitors per household to be reduced from 8 to 5

SINGAPORE — From May 8 to 30, the size of social gatherings and the daily number of visitors for each household will be reduced from a maximum of eight to five. Fewer employees will also be allowed to work in offices, while indoor gymnasiums and fitness studios will have to close.

  • The maximum size of social gatherings and number of visitors per household daily will be cut from eight to five
  • This applies from May 8 to 30 in a move to curb spread of Covid-19 following an increase in community cases
  • Companies will also have to ensure only half of their employees work in office, down from the current 75 per cent

 

SINGAPORE — From May 8 to 30, the size of social gatherings and the daily number of visitors for each household will be reduced from a maximum of eight to five. Fewer employees will also be allowed to work in offices, while indoor gymnasiums and fitness studios will have to close.

Announcing these tightened measures during a briefing on Tuesday (May 4), Education Minister Lawrence Wong said that they represent a “return to Phase 2” but stressed that this was not a circuit breaker, or the Government's term for a partial lockdown.

“Based on our assessment of the situation, where we are today, the clusters that have formed, the cases we have seen, we think the measures that bring us all the way back to Phase Two is already a very strong pre-emptive move.”

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force handling Singapore’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, said that the measures are necessary to tackle the increasing number of locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in the community.

He noted that the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Covid-19 cluster and the cluster involving the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer have been associated with a viral variant from India.

“The new variant strains have higher attack rates, more infections, larger clusters than before. We tried to ringfence through contact tracing, but we must assume that there are still hidden cases out there in the community,” he said.

However, Mr Wong reiterated that the situation today is not the same as when authorities imposed the two-month circuit breaker that halted all economic and social activities in April and May last year.

Referring to input from public health experts, he said that the authorities have assessed the situation to be more like when Singapore was in the early stages of the pandemic in February and March last year.

“So there is a qualitative difference in the situation assessment by our public health experts,” he added.

Mr Wong also said that Singapore has far better testing, contact-tracing capabilities now than compared with last year.

Companies, which are now allowed up to 75 per cent of their employees working from their offices, will also from May 8 have to ensure that only up to 50 per cent of employees are back in the office.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that employers should continue to stagger the start times of their workers and implement flexible working hours. Social gatherings at workplaces should be avoided.

Individuals are also still advised to have no more than two gatherings each day.

MOH added that it is closing indoor gyms and fitness studios because based on experience here and abroad, such places have a tendency to be hot spots for Covid-19 transmission because they are small, enclosed spaces where people are frequently not wearing masks and close to each other.

“These settings and the associated activities are where there is a high density of people who are unmasked and in close proximity with one another, often for prolonged periods,” the statement read.

However, outdoor organised exercise programmes and classes can continue, with a cap of 30 participants. Participants have to be in groups of up to five, with each group separated by more than 3m.

“We will remain vigilant and continue to monitor other higher-risk settings and activities such as indoor sports halls and personalised services such as massages, spas, and facials. If the community cases situation does not improve, we will consider taking further actions on these higher-risk settings and activities,” MOH said.

 

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus MOH social distancing Phase Two

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