Image Credits: AP
In its fight against the spread of COVID-19, Singapore has reverted to heightened alert measures to regulate people's movement, after health officials recorded 195 new cases on Tuesday. According to the Ministry of Health, 182 of the cases on Tuesday were caused by a locally transmitted infection, with 135 of them linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster and 12 to the Karaoke TV cluster. On Tuesday, there were 13 imported cases.
In order to combat the recent surge in community cases, dining in will be prohibited from July 22 to August 18. While announcing the reversal to heightened alert, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong stated that restaurants can only offer takeaway and delivery choices.
From Thursday, the maximum group size for social gatherings will be cut from five to two, and the number of separate guests per residence per day will be limited to two, down from five currently. According to the ministry, other clusters linked to Jurong Fishery Port have been discovered, particularly in wet markets and hawker food hubs.
While the reintroduction to harsher regulations last seen in May with the formation of the Changi Airport cluster feels like a tremendous setback, the authorities say it is necessary. Singapore is moving through with its plan to live with COVID-19.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung stated that the current tightening is aimed at buying time to reach the target of having two-thirds of the population properly vaccinated by National Day. When that is accomplished, Ong Ye Kung believes Singapore will be confident in its ability to remain safe while remaining open despite a daily load of 100 to 200 new cases.
Minister Gan, who co-chairs the task force, warned that given the rate at which new clusters are forming, stricter measures are required to restrict the virus' spread and allow time for vaccination coverage to be increased, particularly among the elderly.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement that work-from-home will continue to be the norm at workplaces. As Singapore's vaccine coverage continues to rise, the ministry stated, safety measures calibrated according to vaccination status will be restored at a suitable time.
(With PTI Inputs)