No more masks, TraceTogether as Singapore removes (almost) all Covid-19 restrictions

Singapore is removing almost all of its existing Covid-19 restrictions starting Monday.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) today announced the big changes, which many locals have been waiting for anxiously after years of strict pandemic restrictions being slowly relaxed (and sometimes raised again).

Here’s what we can expect from Monday:

Mask off

Masks will be made optional on public transport but they will still be required in healthcare and residential care settings involving interactions with patients.

It has been close to three years since the government implemented mask requirements in April 2020.

Easy entry

Singapore will scrap all border measures from Feb. 13.

All travelers, including the non-vaccinated, may enter Singapore without showing proof of a negative pre-departure test. There is also no need to purchase Covid-19 travel insurance.

But screenings of travelers for infectious diseases will continue.

Travelers, including Singapore residents, will also still have to submit an SG Arrival Card when entering Singapore.

All’s green

Singapore has moved down from Yellow status (the second lowest tier) to Green, the lowest under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) framework. This tier places Covid-19 in the same category as the H7N9 bird flu strain and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

But what if I have COVID-19?

Go see a doctor.

The Ministry will be removing Protocols 1, 2 and 3 and urges those with more serious Acute Respiratory Infection symptoms to see a doctor.

Those with mild symptoms can rest it out at home.

If you need to head out even though you are positive, you should “exercise social responsibility by minimizing social interactions, wearing a mask and avoiding crowded places,” said MOH.

Enough tracing

Singapore’s contact tracing systems TraceTogether (TT) and the SafeEntry will be shut down.

Users can now uninstall the apps and move on. Those with TraceTogether tokens may return them at the counters of any Community Clubs or Centres from Feb. 13 to March 12.

All data collected has also been deleted from servers and databases except for names and mobile numbers in case dangerous variants emerge in the future, MOH said.

Bye, bye taskforce

The government’s multi-ministry Covid task force, which consists of ministers assigned to deal specifically with Covid-19 issues, will also be stepped down and taken over by MOH.

Hello vaccinations 

Vaccinations are still free to all Singapore Citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and certain short-term pass holders.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said those aged five and above should get three doses of mRNA or Novavax vaccine, or four doses of Sinovac vaccine. The government is also pushing for more vulnerable groups such as the elderly to get booster jabs yearly.

But not everything will remain free. Covid-19 treatments will no longer be fully subsidized and patients will have to fork out for Covid-19 testing.

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