Owing to a rise in the COVID-19 cases in Singapore, the Ministry of Health today announced tighter curbs on social gatherings and stricter border measures after recording locally acquired cases of coronavirus variants, including a more contagious strain first detected in India. The stricter measures, which will be effective from May 8, include extending checks on where incoming travellers have been to three weeks earlier, instead of two weeks currently.
The numbers have increased in the Asian financial hub over the last week, mainly linked to an outbreak at a hospital. On Tuesday, it confirmed five new locally acquired cases. due to which the health ministry has decided to impose stricter restrictions.
The new measures amount to the tightest local restrictions since Singapore started easing curbs in the middle of last year after a partial lockdown.
Here's a look at the new measures:
1. Social group sizes cut down
As per the new rules, individuals are advised to keep to two or fewer social gatherings per day. The number of unique visitors per household per day has been reduced from eight to five.
2. Closure of indoor gyms and indoor fitness studios
Under the new rules, indoor gyms and indoor fitness and health studios will be closed. However, outdoor organised exercise programmes and classes may still continue, limited to a size of 30 attendees in total, with safe distancing measures. This includes group sizes of up to five people and a 3 meter distance between each group.
Besides, the task force will continue to keep a watch on other higher-risk settings and activities, such as indoor sports halls, and personalised services, such as massages, spas and facials.
3. Workplace measures
The organisations/ firms must ensure that no more than 50 percent of employees who can work from home return to the workplace at any time. The employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours.
Besides, Social gatherings at the workplace should also be avoided.
4. Measures on weddings, funerals and other events:
Wedding ceremonies may proceed with up to 250 attendees in total, in zones of up to 50 attendees. Pre-event testing will be required for the wedding couple. Pre-event testing for all attendees, including the wedding couple, will be required for wedding receptions involving more than 50 attendees.
Attendees on the day of the burial or cremation will be limited to no more than 30 people, down from the current 50 people. The cap for other days of the wake remains at 30 attendees at any one time.
The maximum number of attendees will be reduced from 750 to 250 at live performances, pilot business-to-business events and cinemas. Pre-event testing will be required for all attendees of these events if there are more than 100 of them. Cinema attendances will be reduced to 100 attendees.