In spite of the recent clusters, it seems that Singapore’s still intent on fulfilling its end goal of becoming a COVID-19 resilient nation.
Or as our ministers put it, achieving the “new normal” for Singapore.
Indeed, our nation’s already hard at work as we speak, as they’ve set forth a four-stage reopening process that will enable one seemingly impossible-sounding notion:
Living together with COVID-19… peacefully.
9 Facts to Know About S’pore’s Four-Step Reopening for Us to Live With COVID-19
1. Step One: Preparation
The entire reopening process will be unveiled with the preparation stage.
Officially scheduled to commence on 10 August, the initial step will see the easing of travel restrictions, with entry approvals for fully vaccinated work pass holders and dependents set to continue.
At the same time, changes will also be made to certain healthcare protocols.
The preparatory stage is expected to take around a month.
To move on to the next stage, however, the decision would be reliant on a high vaccination rate and stability.
Learn more about why vaccinations are important by watching to the end of this video:
2. Step Two: Transition Stage A
Tentatively set to begin in early September, Transition Stage A will see more extensive economic reopening, with higher size restrictions for events and less stringent border controls.
Surveillance testing for travelers, however, will be kept stringent.
Also, virus clusters might be detected earlier with enhanced wastewater testing protocols.
3. Step Three: Transition Stage B
As the name implies, Transition Stage B will indicate further economic reopening, with more restrictions set to be lifted as we head towards a COVID-19 resilient Nation.
It should be noted, however, that vaccination statuses are likely to remain separate. That is to say, those who’re fully vaccinated might enjoy more perks than those who have yet to be vaccinated.
This is to safeguard the vaccinated and restrain their vulnerability to the virus.
As mentioned above, Singapore’s ultimate goal is to become a COVID-19 resilient nation, and that’s what the fourth step, otherwise known as the last one, promises.
At this juncture, Singapore will become a resilient country in the face of the pandemic, and the COVID-19 will “devolve” into the “new normal” for Singapore.
You might be wondering: “Is it too early to implement such a progressive model, considering how Singapore continues to face double digits community cases?”
Well, it’s a notion that the Health Minister of Singapore has considered.
This is an imperative step in ensuring a COVID-19 resilient nation, even if it means a temporary spike in COVID-19 cases.
In a statement on Friday (6 August 2021), Mr Ong Ye Kung admitted that more people will be afflicted with COVID-19, and the death toll will rise.
But in order to reach the “new normal”, Singaporeans have to be “psychologically prepared”.
“But we can do our best to minimise the incidence of severe illnesses and deaths… It is therefore very important that we continue to vaccinate as many people as possible.”
6. Vaccinated Travel Lanes
Travel may soon be a thing again.
The Ministry of Transport is currently working on “vaccinated travel lanes” that would permit travel between Singapore and designated countries… all without the need to serve a Stay Home Notice (SHN).
Instead, frequent testing will be implemented in place of SHN.
“Our companies cannot grow if businessmen and managers cannot travel overseas to meet clients and partners. MNCs (multinational corporations) will find it hard to invest here if their people are not able to travel in and out of Singapore,” Mr Ong said.
“And if this continues, our ability to create jobs, earn a living will be seriously affected.”
7. Decision Behind Transitions
The authorities will be weighing up the balance between lives and livelihoods while deciding whether to move the nation onto the next step.
“The transition road map will therefore be a very careful balance between lives and livelihoods,” Mr Ong said.
“Ours will be a step-by-step approach, feeling our way forward, making judgment calls along the way, instead of one big bang where all restrictions are lifted all at once.”
8. Will Masks Continue To Be A Thing?
Unfortunately for all the good-looking people out there, safe management measures such as mask-wearing are likely to stay “for quite some time”.
Any change is likely to be dependent on various factors, such as the total vaccination rate.
Watch to the end to understand more about the real use of masks:
From 10 August onwards, dining in will be permitted at all eateries.
Certain restrictions will, however, be imposed.
Groups of up to five people will be permitted to dine in at food and beverage (F&B) establishments if they are all fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated children below the age of 12 years old, however, will be allowed to join as long as they are from the same household.
Meanwhile, dining in at hawker centers and coffee shops will be allowed regardless of vaccination status, though the cap is at two.
As for social gatherings, the cap will be increased from two to five.
Unvaccinated individuals, however, are strongly advised to stay in groups of two or fewer.
Households can receive up to five visitors a day.
For more information, you can watch the original press conference down below:
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Featured Image: kandl stock/ shutterstock.com
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