Ong Ye Kung's Facebook

Among the new measures, families of five can dine-in together; selected sports and MICE event pilot can resume; and more. 

Singapore's Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced easing of the nation's COVID-19 management strategy, as part of its mid-point review of the extended Stabilisation Phase (from 20 October to 21 November 2021).

Among the new measures, families of five can dine-in together; selected sports and MICE event pilots can resume; new VTLs are underway with Malaysia, Finland, and Sweden; and several countries/regions have moved to Category II and III for incoming travellers' guidelines. 

These eased measures come on the back of a decreasing week-on-week ratio of community cases, which is now hovering around 0.8 to 1.0. While the total number of COVID-19 cases in hospitals and the ICU remains high, with ICU utilisation hovering at 70%, numbers are overall stable. Close to 99% of cases continue to have mild or no symptoms.

As such, there are 13 key updates. Please find them summarised below, and scroll down to view the update you wish to know more on.

#1 Fully-vaccinated families (from the same household) can dine in from 10 Nov 2021
#2 Expansion of vaccination-differentiated measures (VDS) to residential care homes
#3 Easing of SMMs under VDS+ART conditions: Sports and MICE events
#4 Resuming more activities, including co-curricular activities (CCAs), in schools and institutes of higher learning (IHLs)
#5 Further expansion of home recovery programme to include infants and children
#6 Possibly expanding vaccination eligibility to those aged 5-11 years [to be confirmed]
#7 Closing down of vaccination centres to re-deploy staff in other areas
#8 COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice to be responsible for their medical bills 
#9 New SMMs for workplaces, F&B outlets, various event categories, and exercise classes
#10 Vaccination-differentiated concessions for medically ineligible persons
#11 Border measures: New countries added to Category II and Category III for incoming travellers
#12 Expanding the types of tests recognised as a valid Pre-Departure Test (PDT) for all travellers
#13 VTLs expanded to Malaysia, Finland, and Sweden, for a total of 16 VTLs


#1 Fully-vaccinated families (from the same household) can dine in from 10 Nov 2021

From 10 November 2021, a maximum of five fully-vaccinated persons from the same household will be allowed to dine together at F&B outlets. This includes unvaccinated children 12 years old and below, in line with their eligibility for Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS).

However, the dine-in group size for those who qualify for VDS but are not from the same household will remain capped at two.

The easing to five pax dining-in will not be extended to hawker centres and coffee shops, the reason being that they are unable to conduct comprehensive VDS checks of all their diners.

However, MTF is prepared to extend the concession to hawker centres and coffee shops once they have put in place additional control measures. "The National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will be engaging the hawkers’ associations and coffee shop operators respectively on this matter. Further updates will be provided when ready," it said in a statement.

For those breaching these new rules, errant diners will be fined, and F&B outlets will be subject to immediate closures. These penalties will apply even for first-time offenders.


#2 Expansion of vaccination-differentiated measures (VDS) to residential care homes

The idea behind expanding VDS to more settings over time is to better protect the unvaccinated who are at higher risk of infection and severe illness. As such, Ministry of Health (MOH) will introduce VDS for residential care homes, given that this is a vulnerable setting where unvaccinated residents are likely to suffer worse outcomes than their vaccinated counterparts. Measures will apply to areas like visitations and activities for residents.

MOH will share more details when ready.


#3 Easing of SMMs under VDS+ART conditions: Sports and MICE events

Safe management measures (SMMs) may be further eased for settings that are able to enforce both VDS and pre-activity testing (called the VDS+ART model). Under this regime, all participants will need to be fully vaccinated and will be required to produce a valid negative Antigen Rapid Test (ART) result on-site prior to the activity.

VDS+ART pilots will start off with sports, i.e. team sports for a group of up to 10 fully-vaccinated persons (including players, umpires, linesmen, etc.) will be allowed to resume in controlled and supervised settings at suitable ActiveSG sports centres and PA community clubs from 10 November 2021. More details are expected from SportSG.

Pilots for VDS+ART will also commence for selected mass sporting events as well as selected MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) events. If successful, these protocols will be expanded to additional settings.


#4 Resuming more activities, including co-curricular activities (CCAs), in schools and institutes of higher learning (IHLs)

In view of the high vaccination rates for Singapore's student population above the age of 12 in schools and IHLs, more elements of school life will be resumed, with appropriate safeguards.

  • From 10 November 2021, secondary schools and secondary/senior sections of Special Education (SPED) schools, Junior Colleges (JCs)/Millennia Institute (MI) and IHLs will be allowed to conduct masked activities in sub-groups of up to five persons, subject to existing SMMs.
  • These educational institutes will pilot the resumption of team sports to allow a group of up to 10 fully vaccinated persons (including players, umpires, linesmen, etc.) to play together. Participants will be required to produce a valid negative antigen rapid test (ART) result on-site prior to each game. MOE will review the outcome of these pilots in November and December to prepare for scaling these sports activities for 2022.
  • Back-to-school plans for 2022: From January 2022, activities that have been suspended or disrupted previously, such as the flag-raising ceremony, assemblies, learning journeys, CCAs, National School Games and the Singapore Youth Festival, will be resumed. Likewise, IHLs will also look to bring back in-person lessons and student activities, and larger-scale IHL sports events (e.g. POL-ITE games and Inter-Faculty Games). Further details will be shared subsequently.
  • Only Kindergarten 1 (K1) children in MOE Kindergartens and Primary 1 (P1) students, including from the primary/junior sections of SPED schools, will report to their schools for the first day of school on 4 January 2022. One parent/guardian will be allowed to accompany their K1 or P1 child/ward to their new school to help them better adjust to the new environment and routines. K2 children and P2 to P6 students will only return to school on 5 January 2022. 

#5 Further expansion of home recovery programme to include infants and children

The minimum age for default home recovery will be lowered from five years to three-year-old children starting from 10 November 2021. That means, all children three years and older will be allowed to recover at home if their household environment is suitable. They will undergo a telemedicine assessment by a community or hospital paediatrician.

Infants and children from three months old to under three years of age will also be allowed to recover at home, after they have been clinically assessed at hospitals to be suitable for home recovery.

All infants under three months of age who are infected with COVID-19 will continue to be admitted to the hospital.


#6 Possibly expanding vaccination eligibility to those aged 5-11 years [to be confirmed]

The Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V) has noted that the Pfizer BioNTech/ Comirnaty vaccine has been approved by the US for use in those aged 5 to 11 years. As such, EC19V is currently assessing the extension of vaccination to children aged 5 to 11 years in Singapore as well.

As shared by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung: "Our Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination has studied and agreed with US FDA’s review. They will give their recommendations on vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 soon. We hope to vaccinate children in this age group as soon as we can."

Overall, the nation has reported good progress in vaccinations and boosters. To date, 85% of the population has completed its full primary regimen, i.e. received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and 18% have received boosters.

Further, 94% of seniors in the 60 to 69 age group and 90% of seniors aged 70 years and above have completed their full primary series regimen of COVID-19 vaccination, while 82% of eligible seniors aged 60 years and above have received boosters. 


#7 Closing down of vaccination centres to re-deploy staff in other areas

Given the focus on booster jabs rather than primary vaccinations, MOH is in a position to close four more Vaccination Centres (VCs) on 1 December 2021: Kebun Baru Community Club (CC), Potong Pasir CC, Taman Jurong CC, and Geylang Serai CC. 

The healthcare staff currently working in these VCs can then be re-deployed to bolster manpower needs in other areas, such as the COVID-19 Treatment Facilities.

The last day for Dose One walk-ins at Kebun Baru CC and Potong Pasir CC was on 6 November 2021, while the last day for Dose One walk-ins at Taman Jurong CC and Geylang Serai CC will be on 9 November 2021. All four will continue to accept appointments for Dose Two and booster vaccinations until 30 November 2021.


#8 COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice to be responsible for their medical bills

The Government is currently footing the full COVID-19 medical bills of all Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders (SCs/PRs/LTPHs) - all segments other than for those who tested positive soon after returning from overseas travel. For the majority who are vaccinated, this special approach for COVID-19 bills will continue until the COVID-19 situation is more stable.

However, with unvaccinated persons making up a sizeable majority of those who require intensive inpatient care, and contributing disproportionately to the strain on healthcare resources, effective 8 December 2021, Singapore's will begin charging COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice.

This will apply to all unvaccinated COVID-19 patients admitted on or after 8 December 2021 to hospitals and CTFs.

However, individuals who are partially vaccinated until 31 December 2021, will not be charged, thus giving them time to become fully vaccinated.

From 1 January 2022, only SC/PR/LTPH COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated and have not recently travelled will have their COVID-19 medical bills fully paid for by the Government. Further, medical bills for those who are ineligible for vaccination will still be fully paid for by the government, i.e. children under 12 years old or medically ineligible persons.


#9 New SMMs for workplaces, F&B outlets, various event categories, and exercise classes

Several adjustments to existing SMMs will be applicable from 10 November 2021, in order to better facilitate operations for businesses and workplaces.

  • At the workplace: For work-related events, unmasking allowed for up to 10 people engaged in public speaking at any time, so long as the speaker maintains a safe distance of at least 2m from audience whilst speaking unmasked.
  • For F&B establishments, excluding hawker centres and coffee shops: Soft recorded music permitted; live music and entertainment still not allowed.
  • For sports/exercise activities and classes: At least 2m safe distancing between individuals for indoors high intensity or high movement exercise classes, unless the nature of activity requires the distance to be shortened. Further, between multiple groups: at least 2m apart at all times, no intermingling.

Revised SMMs for the following event categories:

(a) Congregational worship
(b) MICE events
(c) Live performances
(d) Spectator and participatory sports events
(e) Solemnisations and wedding receptions

  • For all event categories, where zoning is implemented:
    • Zones of up to 100 attendees.
    • At least 2m separation between each zone.
  • For live performances including during congregational worship:
    • At least 2m safe distancing between performers and audience.
    • Static performers may be in groups of two persons, with no need to maintain safe distance within the group. Safe distances of 1m with groups of other performers need to be maintained.
  • For event categories (a), (b), (d) and (e):
    • Unmasking allowed for up to 10 persons engaged in public speaking at any time, so long as speaker maintains a safe distance of at least 2m from audience whilst speaking unmasked.

#10 Vaccination-differentiated concessions for medically ineligible persons

Singapore recognises that there are a few individuals who are medically ineligible for all COVID-19 vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme (NVP), who will be exempted from the VDS, effective 1 December 2021.

From 15 November 2021, such individuals can visit any General Practitioner (GP) clinic, or public or private healthcare institution to be certified as medically ineligible, subject to meeting the revised criteria listed below:

a. Persons aged 18 years (based on date of birth) and above who were unable to complete their vaccination regime due to allergies or a previous severe adverse reaction to all NVP vaccines, namely, Pfizer-BioNTech/ Comirnaty, Moderna and Sinovac-CoronaVac; or

b. Persons below 18 years of age, who were unable to complete the vaccination regime due to allergies or a severe adverse reaction to a previous dose of a PSAR-authorised mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, and unable to take the SinovacCoronaVac vaccine; or

c. Persons with/ under the following condition(s)/ treatment:
- Transplant within past 3 months; and/or
- Aggressive immunotherapy; and/or
- Active cancer on treatment.

While persons listed in (c) can take the COVID-19 vaccine safely, their doctors may advise delaying their vaccination (as they will be severely immunocompromised during the course of their medical treatment) to a time when the vaccine will be more effective for them. Their medical ineligibility status will expire upon reaching the date indicated by the certifying doctor on when they may take the vaccine.

All medically ineligible individuals will be issued with a standard paper memo, which should be presented along with a government-issued photo identification card to be exempted from the following VDS settings:

  • Dining-in at F&B establishments including hawker centres and coffee shops
  • Mask-off personal care services (e.g. facials and saunas)
  • High-intensity/ mask-off sports/ exercise activities and classes
  • Mask-off arts classes (e.g. classes involving singing and wind instruments)
  • Attractions (including museums)
  • Cinemas
  • Congregational and worship services
  • Live performances
  • MICE events
  • Shopping malls and large standalone stores
  • Solemnisations and wedding receptions
  • Spectator and participatory sports events

MOH is also working with GovTech to reflect the medical ineligibility status in individuals’ TraceTogether App. MOH will separately update healthcare establishments on the certification process.


#11 Border measures: New countries added to Category II and Category III for incoming travellers

As part of the regular review of the COVID-19 situation in countries/regions, the list of countries/regions in the various categories has been updated, effective for arrivals from 11 November 2021, 2359 hours.

The following countries/regions will be placed in Category II from 11 November 2021, 2359 hours: 

  1. Cambodia
  2. Egypt
  3. Hungary
  4. Indonesia
  5. Israel
  6. Malaysia
  7. Maldives
  8. Qatar
  9. Rwanda
  10. Samoa
  11. South Africa
  12. Tonga
  13. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  14. Vietnam.

The following countries/regions will be placed in Category III from 11 November 2021, 2359 hours: 

  1. Argentina
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Belarus
  4. Brazil
  5. Chile
  6. Colombia
  7. Ethiopia
  8. India
  9. Kuwait
  10. Laos
  11. Mexico
  12. Myanmar
  13. Nepal
  14. Oman
  15. Pakistan
  16. Papua New Guinea
  17. Philippines
  18. Romania
  19. Russia
  20. Serbia
  21. Sri  Lanka
  22. Thailand
  23. Ukraine. 

 #12 Expanding the types of tests recognised as a valid Pre-Departure Test (PDT) for all travellers

For all travellers arriving in, or transiting through, Singapore from Category II/III countries/ regions (including travellers arriving via VTL), the types of tests recognised as a valid pre-departure test (PDT) will be expanded. This is in alignment with the nation's testing protocols currently in place.

From 11 November 2021, 2359 hours, a negative, professionally administered ART result taken within two days prior to departure will also be accepted as a valid PDT for travellers from these countries/regions. For example, if the PDT is taken on 1 November 2021, it will be valid for departures (for air/ sea checkpoints) or arrivals (for land checkpoint) up to 3 November 2021, 2359 hours.

All PDTs must continue to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Taken within two days prior to departure for Singapore;
  • Test result memo must state:
    • Negative test result in English;
    • Date that the test was taken;
    • Traveller/s name; and
    • Either Date of Birth or Passport Number as stated in the passport.

#13 VTLs expanded to Malaysia, Finland, and Sweden, for a total of 16 VTLs

Singapore and Malaysia have announced a joint VTL for travel between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from 29 November 2021. Vaccinated Travel Pass applications for Short-Term Visitors and Long-Term Pass Holders will commence on 22 November 2021; returning Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who are fully vaccinated will not need to apply.

Singapore and Malaysia are also in detailed discussion to launch a similar scheme for travel across the land links.

The VTLs will also be extended to Finland and Sweden from 29 November 2021, with applications for Short-Term Visitors and Long-Term Pass Holders commencing on 22 November 2021.

This brings the total number of VTLs managed by Singapore to 16, and includes: 

  1. Australia
  2. Brunei
  3. Canada
  4. Denmark
  5. France
  6. Germany
  7. Italy
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Spain
  10. Switzerland
  11. United Kingdom
  12. United States
  13. Republic of Korea (ROK) - effective 15 November 2021
  14. Malaysia - effective 29 November 2021
  15. Finland - effective 29 November 2021
  16. Sweden - effective 29 November 2021

Travellers under the VTLs need not be subject to Stay-Home Notice (SHN). Instead, they will be required to produce a negative PDT taken within two days prior to departure and undergo an on-arrival Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. 


Lead image / Minister Ong Ye Kung's Facebook

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