COVID-19: Social interactions should be limited to two per day – MTF

SINGAPORE — All individuals should limit their social interactions to two per day, whether visiting another household or meeting with friends or family members in a public place, the multi-ministerial taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19 said at a virtual news conference on Friday (30 April).

In addition, the MTF announced tighter measures for entry into malls and large standalone stores, and other places to be implemented from Saturday onwards for two weeks. This is in light of an uptick in the number of community cases in the past two weeks.

"This is the first time in quite some time that we have seen relatively large clusters in the community, so this is obviously cause for concern," said Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the MTF. He acknowledged that the new restrictions will "create inconvenience for everyone", given that there are three public holidays in the month of May: Labour Day, Hari Raya Puasa and Vesak Day.

"But I seek everyone's cooperation to scale back your social activities and comply with all the prevailing rules. This is the only way we can ensure that we slow down the spread of the virus in the community."

On 22 January, the MTF had announced that visitors to households would be capped at eight unique visitors per day. The following additional measures will be implemented from 1-14 May (unless otherwise stated):

a. Malls and large standalone stores: The occupancy limit will be reduced to one person per 10 sqm of Gross Floor Area (GFA), from one person per 8 sqm of GFA;

b. Popular malls (Lucky Plaza, Peninsula Plaza): The odd and even date entry restrictions on Sundays will be reinstated

c. Outdoor barbecue pits and campsites: These will be closed to the public, and includes barbecue pits in parks, HDB estates, condominiums and country clubs.

d. Attractions: With effect from 7 May through 14 May, all attractions that have received MTI’s prior approval will be permitted to operate at 50 per cent operating capacity, a reduction from 65 per cent. Further details will be released later.

Among the steps people should take: avoiding crowded places and staying home where possible, keeping groups as small as possible, and sticking to a regular group of contacts. Employers should also allow employees to work from home if they are able to do so.

The authorities advised employers to continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours. Social gatherings at the workplace should also be avoided, as these measures will help lower transmission risks by reducing interactions at the workplace and in public places, including public transport.

Wong warned that Singaporeans must be "mentally prepared" that if the situation does not improve in the coming days, tougher action and more stringent measures will be taken to reduce significantly the number of interactions within the community. "We are not there yet, but we strongly encourage every individual, everyone in Singapore to do their part."

He added, "So if we stay disciplined and vigilant, and if we all do our part, I am confident that we can get through this bump and get back on track towards our path of reopening the economy."

The MOH on Friday confirmed 24 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,145. Nine of them are local infections in the community, of whom eight are linked to previous cases.

Among them, four are linked to a fully-vaccinated nurse at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and were detected from testing of patients and staff at the hospital. The cluster, one of eight active COVID-19 clusters in Singapore, now has 13 cases linked to it.

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