Singapore tightens restrictions once more as Covid instances escalate

A Housing & Development Board (HDB) public housing estate in Singapore.

Wei Leng Tay | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s government announced on Tuesday that it would tighten Covid-19 measures, including a ban on eating in food establishments, as new cases continue to increase.

Given the current rate of transmission, authorities expect the number of infections to increase sharply and the virus to be spread to others in the community.

“This is very worrying as it can affect many people in our community across the island,” said the Singapore Ministry of Health.

Health ministry data last week showed there were 480 cases in the community, a significant increase from the 19 reported in the past seven days.

The new restrictions will take effect from Thursday July 22nd to August 18th.

What new measures are there?

Restrictions that will be re-imposed include:

  • The number of people who are allowed to gather will be reduced from 5 to a maximum of 2 people.
  • Households are only allowed to receive 2 different visitors each day, not counting grandparents who look after their grandchildren.
  • Eating out is prohibited, but restaurants, food courts, and hawker centers are allowed to offer take-away.
  • Exhausting sports and exercise activities indoors, which normally require the removal of masks, will be discontinued.
  • Large events such as live performances and wedding receptions are being scaled down and pre-event testing remains an essential measure.
  • Working from home remains the standard option for most businesses.

Tuesday’s measures followed when the city-state reported 172 new cases on Monday, including 163 locally transmitted infections. It was the highest number of daily reported cases since last August.

Most of these cases were linked to two large clusters – the Jurong Fishery Port, where fishmongers gather their stocks to sell in markets and food centers, and the so-called KTV lounges or karaoke bars – where customers interact with hostesses .

Jurong Fishing Port is closed until the end of the month to break the chain of transmission while workers there have been quarantined.

Singapore has banned nightclubs, bars and KTV lounges from operating since last year as activity on the premises is considered a high risk. However, some of these establishments continued to operate as food and beverage outlets. Some of them are suspected of violating the Covid-19 rules by providing hostess services.

The number of new cases in the city-state has increased significantly in recent days. Last week, Singapore revised its Covid restrictions amid the surge in cases – days after some measures were eased.

Almost half of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to authorities. But a number of “people at risk” such as the elderly still need to be vaccinated against the virus.

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