May 21, 2022

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To reopen borders, drop mask state outdoors

To reopen borders, drop mask state outdoors

Office workers go out to lunch at Raffles Place Financial District in Singapore on January 4, 2022.

Raslan Rahman | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Thursday that Singapore will ease most of its coronavirus restrictions, including overseas mask mandates, from March 29.

In a national address, Lee said, restrictions on social gatherings will be doubled from five to ten, more employees can return to their posts, and capacity limits for large events will be increased.

Masks will still be required indoors, and a safe distance of 1 meter between groups will still be required in the masking settings.

Throughout the pandemic, Singapore has been more consistent and stricter on measures such as mask mandates and traceability than most other countries in the world.

Lee also said Singapore would “dramatically simplify” testing and quarantine requirements and make overseas travel easier – “almost as it was before Covid-19”.

“Resume a more normal life, enjoy large gatherings of family and friends, go outside without masks, or meet your loved ones outside,” he told me. “But don’t throw all caution to the wind.”

He called on people to stick to the relaxed rules and get tested regularly.

Border Measures

Transport Minister S Iswaran said at a press briefing that in terms of travel restrictions and procedures, all fully vaccinated passengers will no longer need tests upon arrival in Singapore from April 1.

Pre-departure tests are still required.

It appears that the peak of the Omicron wave in Singapore has passed. The number of new daily infections reached 8,940 on Wednesday, down from 26,032 on February 22.

As of Tuesday, 92% of the population had received two injections under the national immunization program, while 71% had received boosters.

The majority of those infected in Singapore have mild or no symptoms. About 0.3% required oxygen supplementation within the last 28 days, and 0.04% were in the intensive care unit.

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