On Friday, June 19, Singapore will move into the second phase of reopening its economy amid the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A number of measures and restrictions, previously imposed to curb the spread of the disease, will be eased in phase two. Businesses in critical sectors have reopened since phase one of the plan was launched on June 2. According to reports, most businesses and social activities will be allowed to resume from Friday with appropriate safety measures in place.
Retail businesses can reopen from Friday, with social distancing measures and hygiene protocols imposed. Restaurants, cafes, and eateries will once again be able to provide dine-in options, with a maximum of five individuals per table. Strict hygiene measures, including capacity limits and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas, will be required in all establishments. However, liquor sales and consumption will be prohibited after 22:30 (local time).
Additional public spaces and outdoor facilities will be allowed to reopen progressively, including government service centers, public libraries, and common areas in housing estates including playgrounds and fitness areas. Small social gatherings of up to five people will be permitted and households may also allow up to five visitors. According to media sources, larger public venues such as shopping centers will be allowed to operate, though there will be limits on capacity and long queues and crowds must be prevented by operators. Registered clubs and societies will be permitted to resume operations. Wedding ceremonies of up to ten people at homes and registry offices will be permitted, and up to 20 people are permitted to be present at any one time at funerals and wakes.
Tuition centers and establishments will begin to operate from Friday, with additional safety measures imposed such as reduced class sizes and rescheduled lessons. Private and home-based tuition, including music, dance, and drama lessons, will be able to resume. From Monday, June 29, all students will reportedly return to school.
Moreover, healthcare services will reopen, including eldercare services, personal health and wellness, and home-based services, such as massages and spas. Face-to-face visits will be permitted for individuals in elderly residential facilities, such as nursing homes. In addition, sports facilities including stadiums, swimming pools, sports parks, beaches, lawns and fields, hard courts, gyms, fitness studios, bowling centers, and function rooms, as well as condominiums, golf, and country clubs, will be permitted to reopen. Strict measures including social distancing restrictions and additional hygiene protocols will be imposed.
Other containment measures remain in place as of Thursday, June 18. The use of face masks is compulsory in public spaces and those who do not comply will face a fine. There are exemptions for those conducting strenuous exercise, such as running, and for children below the age of two. Around 20 percent of Singapore's workforce continues to commute to their place of employment as essential workers.
When phase three is introduced, social, cultural, religious, and business gatherings will be permitted to resume; however, the sizes of these gatherings will be limited.
An entry ban on all short-term visitors remains in place. Only work pass holders, and their dependents, who provide essential services, such as healthcare and transport, will be allowed to enter the country with approval from the Ministry of Manpower. Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to be able to work in Singapore. All Singaporean citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders, and work pass holders entering the country will be issued a 14-day Stay at Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities.
As of June 18, there are 41,473 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in country with 26 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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