Yesterday (22 Jan), the face for the battle against COVID-19, Minister Lawrence Wong, said that there might be additional restrictions during Chinese New Year.
And once again, in less than 24 hours after his statement, it’s confirmed: you can still visit your extended family members in groups of 8, but you most probably need to do some planning before you head over unannounced.
New Restrictions for CNY: Limit of 8 Visitors Per Day & No Chanting of Phrases During Lohei
In a media statement, the Ministry of Health said that in order to further mitigate the risk of large community clusters arising from infections that spread within a household and through them to all their contact, there will be a cap of 8 distinct visitors per household per day.
Basically, you can’t get 8 relatives to come to your house the morning, and then allow another 8 relatives to come in the afternoon after the first group has left.
In addition, individuals should also limit themselves to visiting at most two other households a day, as much as possible.
This new rule will take effect from 26 January 2021.
The maximum group size for social gatherings outside the house will remain at 8 people for now. That said, everyone should keep their social circle small instead of mixing with multiple social groups.
If you’re going to lohei, there’s a new rule, too.
Face masks must be worn during the tossing of yusheng, and that the lohei should be done without any verbalisation of the usual auspicious phrases. F&B establishments and enterprises serving lohei must ensure that both the staff and patrons comply with these requirements.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: lohei without shouting is akin to having burgers without fries, but this rule is to ensure that we don’t raise our voice.
For reunion dinners, the usual rules apply.
In addition, MOH has encouraged us to connect digitally this CNY instead of going for the usual physical visits.
Surveillance Testing Before CNY
As community interactions are likely to increase in the leadup to Chinese New Year, MOH will carry out surveillance testing for stallholders, shop owners, persons in the food and beverage industry, as well as food delivery persons operating in and around Chinatown.
While there has been no evidence that these community groups are at higher risk of infection, the tests are offered to them as they are expected to interact more frequently with other members of the public during this time. The testing will take place from 8 February to 9 February 2021. MOH, together with other government agencies, will be progressively reaching out to these identified community groups with further details.
The costs of these tests will be fully borne by the Government.
If you’re now having a headache because you’ve no idea who to visit during CNY, here’s a handy article on what you should do on the first day to the fifteenth day of CNY.
Image: Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com + Alexlky / Shutterstock.com