The government has announced that the country return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
The announcement comes after the recent KTV cluster outbreak across the island that led to the quarantine of over 2,000 people.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 182 new locally transmitted cases of the Covid-19 infection on July 20, the highest so far this year. Out of these 135 cases were linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster.
Phase 2 Heightened Alert Singapore: What’s Not Allowed
Image source: iStock
The government has suspended dining-in at restaurants to curb the spread of infection.
Group sizes for social gatherings will go back down to two people from the current five.
The new measures will be in effect from July 22 until August 18, 2021. They will supersede the measures that the government introduced on July 19.
The government will review these measures in two weeks and accordingly adjust the same based on the situation prevalent at the time, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Furthermore, the ministry will not differentiate on the social distancing protocols between those fully vaccinated and those yet to get the jab.
In a press conference, the Covid task force co-chair Gan Kim Yong said that the government could consider bringing different rules when vaccination rates are higher or when the situation stabilises.
Speaking at the press conference, the minister said, “We know that this news is extremely disappointing and frustrating to many, in particular for businesses in sectors such as F&B. These sectors have been very badly hit given the restrictions. They have been working very hard to adapt to the changing regulations.”
In line with the previous rules, there will be a limit of two visitors to a household every day. People also need to limit their social gathering to not more than two per day, MOH said in their statement.
Grandparents Can Visit Grandchildren
For grandparents visiting grandchildren, it will not be counted towards the cap on the number of visitors or social gatherings.
“Grandparents are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19, to protect both themselves and their grandchildren. To reduce the risk of transmission, grandparents should also minimise intermingling between grandchildren from different households,” said the ministry.
The return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) was “a very difficult decision to make” and one that the task force deliberated over, task force co-chair Lawrence Wong said.
He added that many businesses had been looking forward to reopening. They would have made preparations to differentiate their customers based on vaccination status.
Phase 2 Heightened Alert In Singapore: F&B Businesses Take The Hit
He said, “I’m sure (they) would be very disappointed to know that they now have to close and cannot allow for customers to dine in, especially for our F&B operators.”
Mr Wong further shared, “But based on the assessment of the way the cases have developed, the many clusters that we are seeing, and how it’s likely to have transmitted through into the community, we’ve decided that we have to put in place something to slow down the transmission.”
“The general message to everyone under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) is please stay home, minimise your movements and social interactions as much as you can,” Mr Wong added.
F&B operators including hawker centres, restaurants as well as food courts can only offer takeaway and delivery options. However, the staff need to get tested every two weeks. The tests will continue to be free for them during this period.
For businesses that remain open, including F&B outlets catering to deliveries and takeaways, staff must continue with the 14-day testing requirements. The tests will continue to be free for them during this period.
No Mask-Off Activities Allowed
You cannot do activities like facials, saunas, playing of wind or brass instruments. All require removing the face mask.
Even strenuous indoor exercise classes, or individual and group indoor sports have been barred for now.
However, those going for medical and dental consultations can remove their masks.
Non-medical facial treatments cannot take place during this period.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols To Follow To Stay Safe During Phase 2 Heightened Alert In Singapore
Image Source: Pexels
Wash your hands: Make sure to wash your hands frequently or use a hand sanitiser when stepping outdoors. Make sure to avoid touching those surfaces that will be touched by other people more often.
Wear a face mask: Always step out wearing a face mask. Double up with face masks if necessary but do not avoid them at all costs. It’s too early to let the guard down.
Practice good hygiene: Take a bath once you’ve been to a crowded place. Make sure to sanitise all packages that have come from outdoors. And make sure to keep minimise interaction with people who’ve been outdoors.
Follow all social distancing protocols: When outdoors, maintain a six-feet distance between people. Absolutely avoid crowded areas and do not risk taking your kids to places that can be potential super-spreaders.
Work on building a stronger immunity: Invest in yourself both mentally and physically during this period. Eat more nutritious food, set a proper sleep cycle, manage work and life commitments better. Involve yourself in recreational activities to improve mental health.
Stay home, stay safe.