No more dining in amid stricter curbs to stem Covid-19 spike
Indoor mask-off activities will also cease as Singapore returns to phase two (heightened alert)
Covid-19 measures will be tightened again from tomorrow to Aug 18, as Singapore goes back to phase two (heightened alert) to stem the recent spike in community cases.
Dining in will not be allowed during this period, among other restrictions, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.
Maximum group sizes for social gatherings will be reduced from five to two. Indoor mask-off activities and classes at gyms and fitness studios will cease.
The announcement by the multi-ministry task force came as the number of community cases since the pandemic began peaked for the third straight day yesterday, with 182 locally transmitted cases, driven by the Jurong Fishery Port cluster, which has 314 cases.
The latest tightening is aimed at buying time to reach the target of having two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated by National Day, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
The task force co-chair acknowledged that the decision to revert to phase two (heightened alert) was "most unsettling" for the affected industries and the establishments.
"But we are so close, weeks away, to a stage where we have two-thirds or more of our population fully vaccinated around National Day, and then (we will be) able to much more decisively transit to a Covid-resilient posture. Therefore, now is really not the time to risk it all.
"So we need to bite this bullet, dial back on social activities, and use this time to push through the vaccination efforts."
The majority of local cases yesterday was again linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster, which has spread to 28 markets and food centres.
The cluster linked to KTVs has 205 cases.
Mr Ong said that unlike the KTV cluster, which has spread among younger people, the wave of infection at the markets and food centres affects a much wider group of the population.
The task force had to rethink its posture with the shift in the public health situation, he said. Key considerations include protecting hospital capacity from being overwhelmed.
The authorities also had to consider the level of community exposure, as well as about 200,000 people above the age of 60 who remain unvaccinated and therefore have a high likelihood of falling critically ill once infected, he said.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "We are all disappointed by this step back, but Covid-19 is a formidable foe.
"We have to feel our way forward, and be prepared for setbacks along the way."