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How soon we can implement it depends on everyone, co-chair of the Covid-19 task force, Lawrence Wong said

Just two weeks ago, the multi-ministry task force shared in parliament that it was preparing Singapore to enter Phase 3 with an expected timeline and changes to the current safety regulations released in the coming weeks.

“If all of us continue to work together and keep our guard up even as more activities resume, we will be able to keep the pandemic under control and progress towards further opening up our economy and society steadily,” minister of health Gan Kim Yong had said.

Social gatherings of up to eight people

“For instance, we could consider allowing for general group sizes larger than five, so that larger families or groups of friends could meet and have meals together.”

In a press conference today, Mr Gan disclosed more information, announcing that social gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed outside the home and that each household may receive up to eight visitors in Phase 3.

“This would allow families with more than five persons to be able to get together and enjoy some face-to-face time that no amount of virtual interaction can replace,” Mr Gan said.

Event capacity increased

Restrictions on event capacity could also ease, allowing up to 50 people each at multiple zones, based on the venue size. The limitations on events such as religious services and wedding receptions are limited to 100 people, split into two zones of 50 each or by staggered timings.

A pilot scheme will see people tested for Covid-19 before they are allowed to attend, albeit with rapid tests that deliver results with lower accuracy.

However, nightlife establishments—deemed high-risk environments—such as bars, karaokes and night clubs are likely to remain closed even as Phase 3 begins.

Border control measures ease, travel possible

Phase 3 will also see border control measures ease, with more travel arrangments with other countries, added Lawrence Wong, minister of education.

It was most recently announced that Singapore and Hong Kong are partnering to establish a bilateral travel bubble, which could set the model to forge more partnerships with countries identified to be safe.)

“When can all of these measures take place? That is the big question and the answer is that it really depends on all of us, because if we work together, cooperate and comply with the requirements and the measures, then we can keep community transmission rates low,” Mr Wong said.

While he said that Phase 3 could happen before the end of the year, Mr Wong also warned that the timeline could be pushed back should new clusters emerge as a result of everyone letting their guard down.

Mr Gan added that these changes would be implemented progressively as we move towards Phase 3.

“We may adjust the group size first or we may adjust the larger-scale activities,” he said.

“It depends on the situation and depends also on the various pilots that we are carrying out at the moment.” 

“Phase 3 … is a milestone, that we are saying we have now put in place reasonable measures to protect ourselves and we should continue to maintain these safeguards.”

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