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Dine-in for households of up to 5 if weekly infection growth rate goes below 1: Lawrence Wong

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  • Lawrence Wong
    Singaporean politician

SINGAPORE — Several of the current stabilisation measures could be eased once the weekly infection growth rate - the ratio of community cases in the past week over the week before - goes below 1.

These measures may include: allowing selected group sports and school activities to resume with appropriate safeguards, as well as allowing up to five members from the same households to dine together at food-and-beverage establishments.

"We monitor this ratio closely, and if the ratio comes below 1 and our hospital and ICU (intensive care unit) situation remain stable, we will make some calibrated easing," said Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong during a virtual media briefing by the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce on Saturday (23 October).

Wong said that dining in was "high risk" at the moment, but that the risk is mitigated for families since they are from the same household. Nevertheless, there is still the issue of enforcement. 

"How do we go around ensuring that across all F&B outlets, this rule is complied with strictly and it's only people from the same household? So that's something that we are looking at," he said.

Another key indicator is the proportion of cases that fall seriously ill, as these are the cases which will need to be hospitalised, and will likely need oxygen supplementation or ICU care. A third indicator is the occupancy rate in the hospitals, especially in the ICU facilities. 

Some can move forward first, others will have to wait: Ong Ye Kung

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung acknowledged that the taskforce has received many queries on the inconsistencies of prevailing safe management measures (SMMs), with many wondering why some social activities cannot resume.

"During the current transition to living with COVID-19, the inconsistencies and the subsequent confusion are difficult problems to solve," he explained, noting that Singapore has not taken up the "extreme solutions" or removing all restrictions, or a lockdown where everything is disallowed. The city-state has instead chosen a middle ground.

"But if we are prepared to live with some inconsistencies, then we have a basis to move forward. Some can move forward first, while some will have to wait for their turn, but eventually everyone will get there. We can then tackle the real challenge: how can we progressively reopen while keeping severe disease incidence rate and death rates as low as possible?"

PA to announce wellness activities for fully-vaccinated seniors

One area which will be eased up is the movement restrictions implemented on seniors during the current stabilisation phase, with options for seniors to be socially engaged in wellness activities limited over the past months.

To allow these seniors to keep themselves active, the People's Association will soon announce wellness activities for fully-vaccinated seniors. These will be held in a safe manner at specific sites and dedicated timings, wioth details to be announced at a later date.

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