SINGAPORE - The rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the community and the formation of clusters over the last few weeks are a cause for concern, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (Jan 22).
This could indicate that there is wider, as yet undetected, community transmission, warned MOH as it announced new restrictions to prevent a resurgence in virus transmission.
Here are eight things to note, especially during the Chinese New Year period:
1. Keep to groups of eight
From Jan 26, a cap of eight distinct visitors per household per day will be imposed, MOH said.
This is to further mitigate the risk of large community clusters arising from infections that spread among household members and the subsequent transmission of the virus to all their contacts, the ministry said.
Currently, up to eight people can visit a household at any one time.
The cap on group sizes for social gatherings outside the house will remain at eight.
2. Avoid physical visits as much as possible
People are advised to connect with their families and friends virtually, instead of going on physical visits.
While this is not a hard rule, individuals should try to limit themselves to visiting only family members, and at most two other households a day as far as possible, said MOH.
It advised Singaporeans to keep their social circles small and avoid mixing with multiple groups.
3. Keep masks on when not eating or drinking
While dining out, people should continue to wear their masks while they are not eating or drinking, in accordance with prevailing measures.
Masks should still be worn while tossing yusheng or during lohei, said the ministry.
"We will step up enforcement checks at F&B (food and beverage) establishments, malls and other crowded public spaces during this period. Strict enforcement actions will be taken against individuals and operators who do not comply with safe management measure."
4. No shouting or cheering while tossing yusheng
Diners should also avoid shouting auspicious phrases when engaging in the tossing of yusheng or during lohei.
"F&B establishments and enterprises serving lohei must ensure that both the staff and patrons comply with these requirements," said MOH.
Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also co-chair of the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, said that while it is not possible to enforce interactions in the home setting, he urged members of the public to do their part and comply with the advisory.
5. No Chinese New Year gatherings for companies
Companies should not organise gatherings and social activities such as lohei or Chinese New Year meals, said the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation in a joint statement.
These are not considered work-related events and are therefore not allowed.
6. Follow other prevailing rules when dining out
All rules currently in place at eateries will apply to reunion dinners. For example, booking of multiple tables and intermingling between tables will not be allowed.
Singing and other live performances will continue to be disallowed at F&B outlets and work-related events where food is served.
Those who violate the rules can be fined and prosecuted in court. Operators who do not comply with the measures will have their operations suspended.
7. Lions banished, dragons banned
Dragon dances are cancelled and lion dancers cannot perform at many public spaces to prevent crowds from gathering. Performances are not allowed at coffee shops, food centres, markets, homes and residential areas.
Performances adhering to social distancing rules, and that are part of closed-door work-related events with no patrons or visitors can continue in offices, factories, hotels, temples and shops in mega shopping centres.
8. Give e-hongbao
To reduce queues for new physical notes at banks, Singaporeans are urged to send e-hongbao through banking and e-payment apps.
Those who want to collect new notes will have to make an appointment with their bank.