With the goal of easing COVID-19 restrictions, Singapore plans to allow quarantine-free travel beginning in September. According to the Bangkok Post, which cited Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, the country aims to have vaccinated 80% of its population by then, putting the country in a strong position to proceed with the reopening.
Wong said, “While other countries may have come to terms with a certain level of Covid-19 cases and even deaths, this is not the choice we want to make in Singapore.”
Waiting until 100% vaccination will delay the reopening timetable
He also stated that the administration will not wait until everyone has been vaccinated before beginning the relaxing process. Waiting until the entire population has been vaccinated would imply delaying the reopening timetable until much later in the year, which is not feasible. Infected people with no or mild symptoms can now be treated in community-based settings rather than in hospitals. Wong further said, “that means that as many as 60% of infected cases may recover in community-care facilities. The government aims to raise the number to 80%, with some patients even recovering at home.”
Singapore will reach two-thirds of vaccination by its Independence Day
With more than half of its population properly vaccinated, Singapore aimed to reach two-thirds by its Independence Day on August 9, tying the relaxing of measures to these milestones. However, outbreaks and concerns that 200,000 older people are still unvaccinated pushed officials to tighten restrictions, prompting questions about whether the city-state was straying from its reopening plan.
Under this pandemic stage, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong noted that if the incidence of serious disease from COVID-19 remains low, despite occasional clusters, nearly all social and workplace restrictions can be lifted. The ministers stressed, however, that wearing a mask indoors may still be a way of life.
Despite the fact that Singapore is gradually removing virus restrictions, Wong warned that if the situation worsens, the country may have to back off.