Fill Me In
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in Parliament on 5 October that pandemic control measures, such as the limit of five people for social gatherings, can be eased if everyone continues to work together and keep their guard up.
He explained that the lifting of the restriction would allow larger groups, such as bigger families or groups of friends to meet and have meals together.
However, Gan also stated that dining remains an area that the authorities are “particularly concerned” about, as the need to remove masks for eating and drinking, as well as the tendency to talk during meal times considerably increases the risk of virus transmission.
Piloting more events with larger group sizes to test safe distancing measures
The government has also begun piloting events with a large number of attendees, such as religious worship, exhibitions and conferences, to determine if safe distancing measures can be maintained.
Gan stated, “if these pilots are successful, we will be able to use the lessons learned to allow more large-scale events to proceed.”
Restrictions have also been lifted for key life events such as weddings and religious activities, which now allow up to 100 people, albeit in multiple zones or time slots of up to 50 people at once. Physical exercise classes in common community spaces have also been reinstated, alongside an increase in capacity in cinemas, and leisure attractions.
DORSCON level to remain at orange
The current Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level remains at ‘orange’; Gan said that the DORSCON level is “not just determined by the number of cases alone”.
He further elaborated, “At this moment, particularly we have to be very mindful that while the number of cases in Singapore is low, the cases around us, [in] other parts of the world, is still rising. So therefore, we cannot let our guard down. So I would continue to maintain DORSCON orange for the time being, until we are quite confident that the global situation is under control.”
Collective hard work and sacrifice
In lieu of the gradual easing of restrictions, Gan also cautioned: “The low number of community cases currently is not accidental but has come about due to our collective hard work and sacrifices. Even as we move towards phase three, the new normal will be different from what we were used to in the pre-COVID days.”