With easing Covid-19 measures, why is S'pore still capping social gatherings at groups of 8?

The Government is reviewing measures in a controlled manner.
The Government is reviewing measures in a controlled manner.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - While capacity limits for some events like weddings will be increased from April 24, with precautions in place, social gatherings still have to be limited to eight people, as a relaxation of this measure could considerably increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Wednesday (March 24).

"Any adjustment to this number has a very broad-based impact on social interactions, and therefore the risk of transmission goes up significantly," he said in response to a question at a virtual press conference.

Mr Gan and Education Minister Lawrence Wong co-chair the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Wong said that a resurgence in Covid-19 transmission has occurred in other countries, and the Government is reviewing its measures in a "controlled, deliberate and steady manner" to guard against this risk, rather than moving too quickly to relax measures.

"You'll find that there is a risk that clusters form (if measures are relaxed too quickly), particularly if the clusters stem from more infectious strains of the virus. They can spread very quickly, and when that happens, you will have to move in again with additional restrictions," he explained.

The Government is reviewing measures in a controlled manner, watching the outcomes of every move, and making sure the situation remains stable, Mr Wong said.

"That has been the approach we have taken throughout the past year and that will continue to be the approach we take this year, relying heavily on data and evidence as we make each move," he added.

Mr Gan also assured Singaporeans that the Government is reviewing the limit on social gatherings on a regular basis.

"When we are confident that it will not create problems with transmission, we will do the necessary adjustments and we will make the appropriate announcement at the right time."

At the press conference, the two ministers also announced that more people will be allowed to attend some events as part of an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, if pre-event testing is in place for these activities.

For instance, pre-event testing will be required for wedding receptions with more than 100 attendees, including the wedding couple. But this is not required for wedding receptions with 100 or fewer attendees.

People who have been fully vaccinated and have had time to develop sufficient protection will also be exempted from pre-event testing.

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