SINGAPORE - There will be no changes to current safe management measures (SMMs) for the upcoming Chinese New Year to help protect Singapore's healthcare system.
This comes amid a surge in Covid-19 cases here from the Omicron variant, said Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Jan 21).
Currently, only groups of up to five people are permitted for social gatherings, and each household is allowed up to five unique visitors per day.
"I know that many of us are hoping for relaxation in SMMs as we approach the Chinese New Year. However, it is important that we continue with our existing SMMs to help prevent overloading our healthcare system," he said.
He was speaking at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 which he co-chairs.
The Ministry of Health said that prevailing rules at food and beverage establishments will also apply to reunion dinners and other Chinese New Year gatherings.
Multiple table bookings exceeding five people will not be allowed, except for those from the same household.
Large-scale events, including religious processions or dinner banquets like those organised by companies, will also not be allowed. This is to avoid super-spreading events, the ministry said.
The weekly Covid-19 infection growth rate rose to 2.17 on Thursday. The rate refers to the ratio of community cases for the past week over the week before. A figure of more than one shows that the number of new weekly Covid-19 cases is increasing.
There were 1,001 new cases with the Omicron variant on Thursday, of which 952 were local cases and 49 were imported.
The first day of Chinese New Year falls on Feb 1, less than two weeks away.
Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, who is the director of medical services, said he expects the number of Covid-19 cases to continue to rise.
"This is likely to continue into early February 2022 when the Chinese New Year period is upon us," he added.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also a co-chair of the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, said that those who are planning to visit family members who are seniors during Chinese New Year can consider taking an antigen rapid test beforehand to ensure they are not transmitting the virus.
Those who are not feeling well should also stay at home instead of going out for visits, he added.
"So if we all continue to exercise personal and social responsibility, and we continue to do our part, we will be able to ride through this Omicron wave safely. And then we can look forward to our next round of measures towards our continued journey of becoming a Covid-19 resilient nation," said Mr Wong.