Minister Ong Ye Kung Explains Why VDS Isn’t Still Removed Despite a Major Reopening


Now, before anything remember this: “Nobody likes to do the cha-cha—three steps forward, two steps back. We wouldn’t open up and take this decisive step if we thought we were going to step back.”

In an interview on 1 April with SPH, Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung and Minister of Finance Lawrence Ong emphasised how the easing measures set forth were meant to be generally permanent, without a need to tighten-up even should cases rise. 

They also addressed many other specific aspects of the new dimensions of the COVID-19 world, like vaccination-differentiated measures.

Here’s what was said in the interview, broken down bite-sized.

Booster Shots

Whether or not we have to go for a second round of booster shots depends on the global COVID-19 situation, but seniors above the age of 80 as well as those with chronic illnesses can go for a second booster shot now if they wish to do so.

However, if they chose not to go for the shot, they will still be considered fully vaccinated.

Let’s Talk VDS

Vaccination-differentiated Measures (VDS), however, are still in place. 

More than one-fifth of the cases that required intensive care or passed away were the unvaccinated, despite them being only 3.5% of Singapore’s adult population.

Hence, it makes sense for these measures to still be in place so as to not overwhelm the hospital situation.

Mr Ong also added that he wanted to send the right message that malls and such settings will continue to be unsafe for the unvaccinated. 

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The only instance by which VDS will be removed, Mr Ong says, is when the hospital situation is completely stable. 

Hari Raya Puasa and Thaipusam

Given that live music as well as much looser restrictions are now allowed, Hari Raya Puasa and Thaipusam will definitely be extra festive and joyous this year.

The ministers acknowledged the communities’ resilience through the pandemic, especially given their sacrifices of smaller prayer spaces and toned down festivities.

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