11 Must-Know Updates From Today’s COVID-19 Press Conference (20 Nov)

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Just yesterday, Co-Chair of the multi-ministry task force (MTF) for COVID-19, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, said that the authorities might need to take “a few days” before deciding on whether to ease any COVID-19 restrictions, and we all thought that the Stabilisation Phase is going to last until 2057.

All of a sudden, this afternoon, it’s announced that the Stabilisation Phase will, indeed, end tomorrow (21 November) as planned, and we can finally gather in groups of five.

Here are the important things you need to know from today’s press conference (20 November) that we’ve all been expecting, and yet at the same time not expecting.

Exit from Stabilisation Phase to Transition Phase

As you’d probably know, in Singapore, there’s a name for every phase.

Our overall infection numbers and hospital situation have largely stabilised and improved; as of yesterday, our ICU utilisation rate is at 57%, which is the lowest since MOH first released information on it on 25 Oct, when the rate was at a whopping 83.6%.

Therefore, the MTF believes that we are in a better position to proceed with further easing of our community Safe Management Measures (SMMs), in a careful and calibrated manner, and exit the Stabilisation Phase into a Transition Phase.

So from 22 November 2021, we’d be in the Transition Phase.

And the first thing we’re all interested in is…

Social Gathering Group Size Increase to Five Per Group

…not that it matters (have you been in malls before?), but anyways.

From 22 November 2021, the permissible social gathering group size will increase from 2 persons to 5 persons. The cap of 2 distinct visitors per household per day will correspondingly increase to 5 distinct visitors per household per day.

And with that increase, it means…

Up to 5 Vaccinated People Can Dine Out as a Group Even if They’re From Different Households

As of now, only people from the same household can dine out in groups of 5, and we’ve to use our NRIC to show where we live.

Come 22 November, that’s no longer required.

Groups of up to 5 persons, even if not from the same household, will be allowed to dine-in at Food and Beverage (F&B) establishments if all the diners are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below (i.e. born in 2009 or later) may be included within the group of 5 persons as long as all these children are from the same household.

As previously announced, medically ineligible persons may also be included within such groups of 5 persons from 1 December 2021.

But this isn’t for hawker centres or coffee shops. Yet.


Hawker Centres & Coffee Shops Will Need to Have VDS System Ready First Before Welcoming Groups of Five

Such groups of up to 5 persons will only be allowed to dine-in at hawker centres and coffee shops where full VDS (Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures) checks have been implemented. The initial batch of hawker centres and coffee shops that are ready will start such checks from 23 November 2021, and more will do so when ready with access control and systems to perform vaccination checks at entry points.

NEA and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will share more details on the first group of hawker centres and coffeeshops.

Otherwise, dining-in at hawker centres and coffee shops without full VDS checks will remain at groups of up to 2 fully vaccinated persons.

Land VTL With Malaysia Will Most Like Occur This Month

We’ve heard it from the Johor Chief Minister, and now, we’ve heard it from a Singapore minister.

Minister Gan said, “I’m optimistic that we will be able to … launch this VTL for land round about the end of this month, close to the launch of the VTL for air. It is also possible that we may be able to do so on the same day.”

According to the Johor Chief Minister, the VTL for air and land would both open on 29 November 2021.


However, day trips are probably not on the agenda yet, as the goal is for families to be reunited.

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Easing of Restrictions in Marriage Solemnisations and Wedding Receptions

Here’s the ticket: the only way to remain unmasked in public for a long period of time is now to get married.

From 22 November 2021, couples may safely include more activities in their wedding celebrations, and this includes unmasking by the wedding couple throughout the reception or solemnisation event, and singing by members of the Wedding Party at the reception, subject to additional precautions.

More details will be provided in a separate advisory by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

More Places Would Require You to be Vaccinated Before You Can Enter

From 1 December 2021, VDS will be applied to more settings and activities, including in all Libraries under the National Library Board (NLB), and selected activities in community clubs/centres under People’s Association (PA).


Further Resumption of Senior-Centric Activities

In the coming weeks, seniors can look forward to more active-ageing programmes such as exercise programmes offered by the Health Promotion Board and participate in other forms of learning under the National Silver Academy. Details will be released soon.

Resumption of In-Person Visits to Hospitals and Residential Care Homes with VDS In Place

From 22 November 2021, in-person visits to hospitals and Homes with enhanced VDS-related measures in place.

Such in-person visits will be allowed only when both the hospital patient/ Home resident and their visitors are fully vaccinated. Visits for medically ineligible patients/residents and visitors will be allowed. If the patient/resident and/or visitor are not fully vaccinated, in-person visits will only be allowed under exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis, as advised by the hospitals and Homes.

Do note that this does not apply to individuals seeking medical care from the hospitals.

Financial Support to be Reduced for Businesses and Individuals

With the new phase, less financial support would be provided to affected businesses and individuals, but at least there’s still something.


There will be a 10% Jobs Support Scheme support from 22 November to 19 December 2021 for F&B, retail, cinemas, museums, art galleries, historical sites, family entertainment, tourism, gyms and fitness studios, and performing arts and arts education. Previously, it was 25%.

There will be a 0.5 month rental waiver for the cooked food and market stallholders in centres managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators.

In addition, COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund payout will be at $10 and $5 per vehicle per day in December 2021 and January 2022 respectively for taxi and private hire car drivers.

The total sum of the support measures is $90m, and this will be funded from the higher-than-expected revenues collected to-date.

Booster Shots to be Provided After 5 Months Instead of 6

Currently, booster shots are provided six months after the second dose for those aged 30 to 59, and five months after the second dose for those aged 60 and above.


Soon, all eligible persons will now be able to receive their booster doses starting from five months after the completion of their primary series (typically with two doses of the mRNA vaccines), and SMS invitations will be sent to them before that.

To know more about Singapore’s plan to live with COVID-19, watch this to the end:

YouTube video

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Featured Image: YouTube (CNA)

DPM Lawrence Wong has just spoken about his plan for Singapore in the next ten years and more. Here’s a summary of his first speech:

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