Singapore is moving to the next stage of reopening after maintaining a stable COVID situation over the recent months. Travelers and the public can say goodbye to mandatory masks and contact-tracing apps.
Singapore will drop a requirement for travellers who are not fully vaccinated to show COVID test results or purchase coronavirus travel insurance from Feb 13, the government’s virus taskforce said on Thursday.
Masks will also not be required to be worn on public transport, the health ministry said in a statement, as authorities lowered the disease outbreak response level to “green” from “yellow”, indicating COVID-19 is not threatening.
However, masks will still be mandatory in healthcare settings, where there is interaction with patients and in indoor patient-facing areas.
“Within Singapore our COVID situation has remained stable over the recent months, despite increased travel over the year-end holidays and China’s shift from zero COVID,” Lawrence Wong, deputy prime minister and co-chair of the virus taskforce, told a media briefing.
“Our population has developed a high level of hybrid immunity,” he said.
Around 80% of the city-state’s 5.6 million population have achieved minimum COVID-19 vaccination protection, and around half are up to date with their additional booster shots, health ministry data showed.
“We’ve had to deal with many unexpected curveballs and surprises along the way. But we managed to reach this point together because we all did our part,” Wong said.
The public can also remove COVID-19 contact-tracing apps, and the government has deleted identifiable data from its servers and database, health minister Ong Ye Kung said.
Since April last year, Singapore had lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions with many international events returning to the city-state, attracting tourists and businesses.
The Asian financial hub is expecting the tourism sector to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
(Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Ed Davies)
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Photo credit: Orchard Spring Lane, Merlion, Singapore. Source: Jisun Han / Unsplash Jisun Han / Unsplash