Tightened Covid-19 Restrictions For The Protection Of Unvaccinated Residents

Ever since the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced tighter Covid-19 measures last Saturday (9 Oct), many have questioned their flexibility.

To address their queries, MTF co-chairs Ong Ye Kung and Lawrence Wong sat down for a video providing answers to common questions.

They explained that the new restrictions were mainly to ensure more protection for unvaccinated residents. However, they do give exceptions depending on individuals’ various circumstances.

Tightened Covid-19 measures to protect unvaccinated individuals

On Tuesday (12 Oct), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung posted a video on Facebook to address several key questions the public may have regarding the new Covid-19 restrictions.

He roped in MTF co-chair and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong to answer the questions.

The video started out with the question of why we’d require booster shots after 6 months.

Explaining that protection could wane gradually after 6-9 months, Mr Ong said that a booster shot would help to improve our defences.

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Mr Wong even jokingly asked if Mr Ong had taken his booster shot, to which the latter replied that he had received it recently. Mr Wong, meanwhile, only qualified recently and will be getting his shot soon.

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Jokes aside, they explained their rationale for the tightened measures. Mr Ong used the analogy of being on the road — as long as we observe the rules, there is no need to fear.

Hence, Mr Ong hopes the public would not be too fearful of Covid-19. Instead, everyone should try to lead their lives as normally as possible while observing the rules.

Unvaccinated residents require more protection

Additionally, Mr Wong explained that they introduced the measures to safeguard the health of unvaccinated individuals who are at higher risk of infections.

He cited statistics like 1.5% of seniors being unvaccinated, yet making up two-thirds of patients in the ICU or who have passed away.

Mr Ong added that even younger, unvaccinated individuals should not rule out the possibility of being in the same position. MOH’s data apparently showed that 1 in 100 of such people in their 40s and 2 in 100 of those in their 50s could end up in the ICU.

The Government is thus placing such restrictions in order to look out for the safety of these individuals.

Malls open for unvaccinated individuals who require medical services

With regards to differentiated restrictions in malls, both Ministers clarified that they can offer some flexibility.

For instance, Mr Wong assured that unvaccinated individuals can still visit clinics or the dentist in malls if they need to.

Likewise, unvaccinated caregivers who have to bring young children to daycare and other services within malls can do so too.

As for those who worry about standalone supermarkets becoming a haven for the unvaccinated, the Ministers understand they are unable to stop them. Hence, they appeal for unvaccinated individuals to take necessary precautions when visiting such places.

The authorities will also be relying on coffee shop operators to implement the new measures. Regular spot checks will be done to ensure no rules are broken.

All members of the public to exercise responsibility

Despite the tightened measures, many questioned how transmission can be prevented on public transport.

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Mr Ong explained ventilation would be critical in buses, MRTs, and even planes. Even so, commuters should wear their masks properly and avoid talking to their friends or on the phone.

As for self-isolation, anyone unable to isolate at home should call the authorities immediately so that they can be placed in a community isolation facility.

Covid-19 patients should also be responsible and stay at home to quarantine.

Though each person would ideally want to get several ART kits of their own for free, the Ministers explained that this isn’t practical. However, those who receive a notification from MOH can redeem more free kits from vending machines.

Lastly, Mr Ong clarified why Singapore is opening its borders to 9 more countries.

  1. Singaporeans need to travel for their education, careers, families, and leisure
  2. Aviation is a big sector that involves around 200,000 jobs
  3. Since the situations in other countries are stabilising, it makes sense to open up for travels
  4. Singapore’s small size makes it crucial to stay connected and secure our future

Be a responsible citizen

Though the new measures may be confusing, they are meant to safeguard the public’s well-being.

Like what the Ministers mentioned, the whole of Singapore is depending on every individual to do their part. Hence, we should exercise social responsibility and abide by the rules.

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Featured image adapted from Ong Ye Kung on Facebook and by MS News.