Vaccine, Vaccinated Travel Lanes, Singapore, Travel, Dine in, Home Recovery Programme, Booster

In a wide-ranging announcement on the expansion of vaccination protocols - only groups of two fully-vaccinated persons will be allowed to dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops, as well as enter shopping malls and attractions. All the latest updates summarised for you here.

On 9 Oct 2021 (Saturday), Singapore's Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) shared an update on Singapore's COVID-19 measures. This update covered the expansion of vaccination-differentiated safe management measures, updates on travel protocols, updates on testing protocols, and extending travel lanes, amongst other matters.

Expansion of SMMs for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals from 13 Oct 2021

Groups of up to two fully vaccinated persons will be allowed to dine-in at hawker centres and coffee shops, and to enter shopping malls and attractions. Individuals who do not meet this requirement will still be allowed to buy take-away food at hawker centres and coffee shops.

There are no changes to the measures applied to other F&B establishments – only groups of two fully vaccinated persons are allowed to dine-in. Children aged 12 years and below, recovered individuals and unvaccinated individuals with a valid negative pre-event test result will be included in the group of two.

Additionally, primary school students will be progressively brought back to schools for face-to-face lessons from 11 October 2021 (Monday), while tuition and enrichment centres and private education institutions may also resume face-to-face lessons from the same date with safe management measures in place. For further details, refer to the table below:

Measures for transition from 27 September onwards

Measures for transition from 13 October onwards (unless otherwise stated)

Attractions

  • Operating capacity of 50%
  • No change to operating capacity of 50%

[Updated]

  • Individuals allowed with group sizes of up to two persons if all vaccinated; provision for children 12 years and below applies
  • Individuals not allowed to enter attractions otherwise

Hawker centres and coffee shops

  • Dine-in allowed with group size of up to two persons regardless of vaccination status

[Updated]

  • Dine-in allowed with group sizes of up to two persons if all vaccinated; provision for children 12 years and below applies
  • Dine-in not allowed otherwise

In-person tuition and enrichment classes

  • Up to 50 persons per class in groups of up to two persons
  • In-person classes serving students aged 12 years and below must be shifted online or otherwise suspended until 10 October 2021.
  • No change to class size of up to 50 persons per class, in groups of up to two persons

[Updated]

  • From 11 Oct, in-person classes serving students aged 12 years and below allowed to resume 
  • However, centres are encouraged to continue conducting lessons online.

Shopping malls and large standalone stores

  • Occupancy limit of one person per 10 sqm of Gross Floor Area (GFA)
  • No change to occupancy limit of one person per 10 sqm of GFA

[Updated]

  • Individuals allowed with group sizes of up to two persons if all vaccinated; provision for children 12 years and below applies
  • Individuals, not allowed to enter shopping malls and large standalone stores otherwise
  • Large standalone supermarkets are exempted

Sports/exercise activities and classes provided by gyms/ fitness studios

  • Indoor mask-off/high intensity activities and classes capped at 30 persons 
  • In groups of up to two persons for indoor mask-off activities at gyms/fitness studios allowed if all individuals are vaccinated*
  • In-person classes serving students aged 12 years and below will be suspended
  • Indoor mask-on and all outdoor (mask-on and mask-off) activities and classes capped at 50 persons 
  • In groups of up to two persons for mask-on indoor activities and all outdoor activities only. Irrespective of vaccination or test status.
  • In-person classes serving students aged12 years and below will be suspended.
  • No change to class size of Indoor mask-off/high intensity activities and classes which is capped at 30 persons 
  • In groups of up to two persons for indoor mask-off activities at gyms/fitness studios allowed if all individuals are vaccinated
  • No change to size of indoor mask-on and all outdoor (mask-on and mask-off) activities and classes which is capped at 50 persons 
  • In groups of up to two persons for mask-on indoor activities and all outdoor activities only. Irrespective of vaccination or test status.

[Updated]

  • From 11 Oct, in-person classes serving students aged 12 years and below allowed to resume

Home recovery programme extended to unvaccinated individuals aged 12-49 

The Home Recovery Programme (HRP) will be extended to unvaccinated individuals aged 12 to 49 years, “as the severity of illness for such younger and unvaccinated individuals is low, and it is safe for them to recover at home,” the MTF shared. 

Further, it has also been deemed safer for vaccinated infected individuals aged 70 to 79 years to recover at home, in a “more familiar environment” where there is a lower fall risk. However, as a precaution, individuals from both groups would be assigned to a healthcare provider and should monitor their health closely, including their oxygen level, during the isolation period and consult the healthcare provider early should there be any significant deterioration in their health.

The MTF also shared that the HRP will also be extended to children aged five to 11 years old, while children aged one to four will be clinically assessed at the hospitals first to determine whether recovery at home would be suitable. 

From 10 October 2021, the programme will be the default care arrangement for everyone, except the following groups of people:

  1. partially or unvaccinated individuals aged 50 years and older;
  2. vaccinated persons 80 years and older, and
  3. children aged less than one, and children aged one to 4 years who have been assessed to be clinically unsuitable for home recovery.

Individuals undergoing the HRP will be provided with 24/7 access to medical support available through existing telemedicine providers as well as a strengthened network of medical support with the Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) or polyclinics who have come onboard the programme.

COVID-19 infected individuals enrolled in the HRP will be discharged based on the time passed since diagnosis, without the need for further tests.

For vaccinated individuals and children aged 12 years and below, the HRP isolation period will last for 10 days, while the HRP isolation period for unvaccinated individuals above the age of 12 years will last for 14 days. Thereafter, they will be provided with an electronic discharge memo upon the end of their isolation period. The day seven discharge for vaccinated persons, based on a PCR test that is negative or of low viral load will be removed.

Testing protocols revised: Single approach to managing risk levels 

In additional updates, from 11 October 2021 (Monday), testing protocols will be streamlined as follows:

  • Protocol One: For hose who are unwell and tested positive, they should see a doctor. They will either be placed on the HRP by default, or if the home environment is not suitable, they can recover at the appropriate care facilities. They will be isolated for 10 days if they are fully vaccinated (or are young children aged 12 years or less); or isolated for 14 days if they are unvaccinated. They will be discharged after their respective isolation periods without the need for further tests at the point of discharge. 
  • Protocol Two: For those who are well and have tested positive, they should self-isolate at home for the next 72 hours. After 72 hours, they can re-test and if negative, they may exit isolation and resume normal activities. If they become unwell at any time, they should see a doctor.

Additionally, instead of differentiating contacts of COVID-19 cases into various risk levels and imposing several measures including Quarantine Orders (QO), Health Risk Alerts (HRA), and Health Risk Warnings (HRW), there will now be a single approach – a HRW that lasts seven days from the day of its issuance, that is based on ART self-testing. This will consist of the following (Protocol Three):

  • Upon being notified of the HRW (day one), the person should immediately self-isolate, and test himself with an ART on the day of the HRW issuance and upload the day one ART result based on the instruction in the HRW notification.  
  • He can continue with normal activities for the day if the test is negative. For subsequent days, i.e., days two to seven, the person should test ART negative on the same day before going out. If the person tests positive on any of these ART tests, he should follow Protocol Two above. On day seven, he must test himself with an ART, and if the test is negative, there is no further need for tests after that. 

Expansion of booster vaccination strategy 

The following groups have been recommended by the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V) to receive a booster dose of the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) mRNA vaccine from six months after completing their primary series of vaccinations:

  1. Healthcare and frontline workers,
  2. Persons and staff in institutionalised settings (such as residential care facilities and prisons), and
  3. Persons aged 30 years and above.

No such recommendation has so far been made for those aged 30 years and below. 

A summary of vaccination recommendations can be found here.

MOH has accepted EC19V’s recommendations. Expanding the booster programme to persons aged 30 and above will also help to raise the overall level of protection in the population.

Healthcare workers, as well as frontline COVID-19 workers who have completed their primary series vaccination regimen around six months ago will be offered booster vaccinations from 9 October 2021. The government also working with various institutions to progressively roll out booster vaccinations to eligible persons in institutionalised settings.

Persons aged 30 years and above who have also completed their primary series vaccination regimen around six months ago will also be progressively invited to make an appointment for their booster dose from 9 October 2021. An SMS with a personalised booking link will be sent to the mobile number that they had earlier registered for their first two doses.

These individuals may receive their booster dose at any vaccination centre or participating Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC).

Travel protocols

NOTE: For the complete update on Singapore’s latest travel & border protocols, click here for the summary

The list of countries in the various categories has been updated and adjustments to the categories of some countries/ regions have been made. Among the notable changes, the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) will be classified under Category II. The complete details of the updated country/region classification and their corresponding border measures may be found in here and would be effective for arrivals from 12 October 2021, 2359 hours

In addition, the existing Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) to Brunei and Germany will be expanded  to include eight more countries/regions under Category II, namely Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States for entry into Singapore from 19 October 2021

Applications for short-term visitors and Long-Term Pass Holders will commence on 12 October 2021 for travel into Singapore from 19 October 2021.

The government will also jointly launch VTLs with the Republic of Korea (ROK) for travel between the two countries from 15 November 2021, with applications for the Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) for Short Term Visitors and Long-Term Pass Holders commencing on 8 November 2021. Returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents who are vaccinated will not need to apply for the VTP to travel under the VTLs.

Further, all travellers entering Singapore under the VTLs from 19 October 2021 will only be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 48 hours before departure to Singapore and undergo an on-arrival PCR test upon arriving in Singapore. They will not be required to undergo additional PCR tests on days three and seven of their stay in Singapore.

Head over here for a summary of all of Singapore’s latest travel protocols.

ALSO READ: What to do if an employee tests positive via ART but is feeling well: Singapore advisory


Image / Screenshot of MTF's announcement, Gov.sg's YouTube

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