Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong addressed Singaporeans in his national telecast on the country’s Covid situation and next steps. He described Singapore’s fight against COVID-19 as having reached a “major turning point”, and that the Government will be making a “decisive move” towards living with the coronavirus.
In setting the context for Singapore’s journey through the pandemic so far, Mr. Lee said the one overriding aim from the start was to protect lives and prevent as many deaths as possible. He recounted how Singapore’s healthcare system came under strain but unlike in other countries where hospital staff was forced to choose who to save, Singapore’s hospitals were not overwhelmed.
With Singapore having reached a “major milestone” in its COVID-19 journey, the Omicron wave subsiding, as well as the healthcare system remaining resilient, Mr. Lee announced changes to safe management measures.
Group size for social gatherings to be doubled to 10; wearing masks outdoors will be optional, with 1m distancing between groups. Up to 75% of employees who can work from home may return to the workplace; capacity limits are to be increased for larger events with more than 1,000 people. However, the Prime Minister added that safe distancing requirements will be kept, for now. This means 1m should still be maintained between groups where masks are off, to minimise transmission in mask-off settings.
Another key information shared is the possibility of full land border opening for Malaysians who are fully vaccinated, currently, the VTL program is in place but has limited capacity in travel permission.
Lastly the Prime Minister reminded, COVID-19 may yet bring “further surprises”, he added, so Singapore will continue a measured approach, which he said has served the country well over the past two years.