The Big Story: Will Singapore further relax Covid-19 restrictions?

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Catch up on the hottest topics on The Big Story, The Straits Times' weekday online news programme.

As Singapore approaches the end of the Covid-19 stabilisation phase on Sunday (Nov 21), has the Republic managed to keep the virus situation under control? Are the authorities ready to further ease restrictions?

At the last press conference on Monday, co-chair of the Covid-19 task force Lawrence Wong said that the task force will give an update early next week on Singapore's next steps.

This comes as the Health Ministry reported on Thursday that the overall ICU utilisation rate was at 58.8 per cent, down from 62.6 per cent on Wednesday. The weekly infection growth rate was at 0.90 - the sixth straight day it has been below one.

Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore, gives his assessment of the situation.

Meanwhile, travellers scrambled to book seats on quarantine-free flights between Singapore and Malaysia on the first day of such bookings, with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and its budget arm Scoot reporting high demand.

An SIA spokesman told ST that bookings for its vaccinated travel lane flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur opened at 10am on Friday and by about 11.20am, several flights were sold out.

In other news - the tennis fraternity has taken to Twitter to share its concern for Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who has not been heard from since she made sexual assault allegations against a top Chinese government official two weeks ago.

Former World Number 1 Serena Williams is the latest to voice her devastation and shock.

Journalist Laura Chia shares more.

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