SINGAPORE - Up to five fully vaccinated members of the same household will be allowed to dine out together from Nov 10, said the authorities on Monday (Nov 8).
The multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 said that the number of cases in hospitals and proportion of those with serious illness has remained stable.
The weekly Covid-19 infection growth rate has been below one for the past five days as well. Sunday's rate was 0.81.
The infection rate refers to the ratio of community cases in the past week over the week before. A weekly infection growth rate that is more than one shows that the number of weekly Covid-19 cases is still increasing.
The Health Ministry said the overall utilisation rate of the intensive care unit was at 69.9 per cent on Sunday.
With the improvement in case numbers and hospital utilisation, some measures will be carefully eased from Nov 10.
1. Fully vaccinated families allowed to dine out in up to groups of five
Relaxing the measures to allow up to five fully vaccinated people from the same household to dine out together from Nov 10 is part of a careful step-by-step process to open up Singapore, said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the task force.
However, it will be allowed only at food and beverage (F&B) establishments that can administer comprehensive vaccination-differentiated safe management measure checks.
Dining at hawker centres and coffee shops remains capped at two fully vaccinated people.
The National Environment Agency and the Singapore Food Agency will engage the hawkers' association and coffee shop operators to help them put the additional control measures in place.
When that is done, the same concession given to F&B establishments may be extended to them as well.
The dine-in group size for those who qualify for vaccination-differentiated safe management measures but are not from the same household remains capped at two.
2. Soft recorded music to be allowed at food and beverage outlets
F&B establishments will be allowed to play soft recorded music from Nov 10, but live music and entertainment are still out.
The task force said the authorities will be adjusting existing safe management measures to better facilitate operations for businesses and workplaces.
There will be an increase in zone sizes for various event categories such as congregational worship and live performances, while keeping within overall attendance numbers.
Zones will be increased to up to 100 attendees from 50, and the separation between zones will be decreased to 2m, from 3m currently.
3. More Vaccinated Travel Lanes; Finland and Sweden on the list from Nov 29
More Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) will be launched this month with Finland and Sweden, from Nov 29.
A joint VTL with Malaysia for travel between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport will also begin the same day.
Applications for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders will be open from Nov 22.
Singapore and Malaysia are also in detailed discussion to launch a similar scheme for travel across land links.
The authorities are also expanding the types of tests recognised as a valid pre-departure test for all travellers arriving in, or transiting through, Singapore from Category II or III countries and regions, including travellers arriving via VTLs.
From 11.59pm on Nov 11, a negative, professionally administered antigen rapid test (ART) result taken within two days prior to departure will be accepted as a valid pre-departure test.
4. Covid-19 patients unvaccinated by choice will have to pay for medical bills
Unvaccinated people currently make up a sizeable majority of those who require intensive inpatient care and disproportionately contribute to the strain on healthcare resources, said the Health Ministry.
The Government is currently footing the full Covid-19 medical bills of all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, other than for those who test positive soon after returning from overseas travel.
From Dec 8, Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice will be charged for treatment.
This will apply to all unvaccinated Covid-19 patients admitted on or after Dec 8 to hospitals and Covid-19 treatment facilities.
Covid-19 medical bills for those who are ineligible for vaccination will still be fully paid for by the Government. Besides medically ineligible people, children under 12 years old are also currently ineligible for vaccination.
Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice may tap regular healthcare financing arrangements to pay their bills where applicable. Singapore citizens and permanent residents may access regular government subsidies and MediShield Life/Integrated Shield.
5. Pilot to test resumption of more activities for those fully vaccinated, such as team sports
The authorities said they will be piloting the resumption of more activities for those who are fully vaccinated, starting with sports and selected Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) events, subject to the additional requirement of testing using ART kits.
This will allow higher-risk activities to resume safely.
If successful, this protocol can be extended to other settings.
The authorities will be piloting this in sports settings, to allow the resumption of team sports for a group of up to 10 fully vaccinated people - including players, umpires, linesmen - to play together in controlled and supervised settings at suitable ActiveSG sports centres and People's Association community clubs from Nov 10.
6. More school activities to resume
Steps will be taken to resume more activities in schools, in preparation for the larger-scale safe resumption of co-curricular learning activities in the coming school year.
The Health Ministry said these are critical for the nurturing of well-rounded students. The Ministry of Education (MOE) will provide more details on this separately.
7. Home recovery programme expanded
The minimum age for default home recovery for Covid-19 will be lowered from five years to three, starting from Nov 10.
All children aged three years and older will be allowed to stay 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 hospital.
8. Medically ineligible individuals to be exempted from vaccination-differentiated safe management measures from Dec 1
The authorities said they recognise that there are a few individuals who are medically ineligible for all Covid-19 vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme.
These individuals will be exempted from the vaccination-differentiated safe management measures from Dec 1.
From Nov 15, such individuals can visit any general practitioner clinic, or public or private healthcare institution to be certified as medically ineligible, subject to meeting certain criteria.
They will be issued with a standard paper memo, which should be presented along with a government-issued photo identification card to be exempted.
The Health Ministry is also working with the Government Technology Agency to reflect the medical ineligibility status in individuals' TraceTogether App.
This would allow them to pass through TraceTogether/Safe Entry check-in systems at venues subject to vaccination-differentiated safe management measures without needing to show the paper memo.
The authorities added that they strongly encourage these individuals to minimise such activities and to use the concession judiciously.