Coronavirus: Singapore

Pre-event testing key with more allowed to attend events

Pre-event testing remains an essential measure as Singapore looks to increase event size limits safely and contain coronavirus transmission.

Size and capacity limits for events will be raised from Monday as part of the country's two-stage easing of restrictions, with live performances and spectator sports events, among others, allowed to resume.

Higher-risk activities such as dining in at food and beverage outlets and in-person tuition and enrichment classes will resume a week later, on June 21.

But even as larger-scale events resume, pre-event testing is key to minimising the likelihood of large infection clusters, the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

The tests are required for various events including marriage solemnisations, congregational and other worship activities, as well as live performances and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions with over 50 attendees.

The capacity limit for such events will be increased to 250 with pre-event testing from Monday.

Both polymerase chain reaction tests and antigen rapid tests can be taken for pre-event testing, which will not be required for events with 50 or fewer attendees.

The operating capacity of museums, public libraries and attractions which have prior approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry will also be raised from the current 25 per cent to 50 per cent from Monday.

This also applies to the cruise pilots operated by Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International.

With pre-event testing, marriage solemnisations in external venues may take place with up to 250 attendees, including the wedding couple but excluding solemnisers and vendors.

Solemnisations held at home can have either up to five visitors or up to 10 attendees in total, whichever is higher. This excludes the solemniser and vendors.

Meanwhile, the second stage of reopening will kick in on June 21 with the resumption of higher-risk activities such as dining in and activities in fitness studios.

Wedding receptions and banquets will be allowed to restart with a maximum of 100 attendees including the wedding couple, and with pre-event testing required.

Unmasking and singing or playing of wind instruments at live performances or worship services may also resume only from June 21.

A maximum of 30 performers and crew will be allowed on stage and backstage at any given time for live performances, with at most 10 performers unmasked at any one time. Of these, only a maximum of five can be unmasked for singing and playing instruments.

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, said at a news conference yesterday that the activities under the second step of reopening are predominantly activities where people are engaged in interactions without their masks on.

"These are the higher-risk settings, and that is why we decided to wait... for a full incubation cycle of low, stable numbers, and then we will be able to resume these activities that are of higher risk on June 21."

He stressed that the focus for now is on making sure that more activities can resume safely within Singapore and the community, and it will progressively look at easing its tight border measures when the local situation has stabilised.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who also co-chairs the task force, said Singapore is keeping a close eye on the situation.

"So, from now to June 21, and probably a couple of weeks beyond, it is a very cautious period where we are cautiously opening up," he said.

Choo Yun Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2021, with the headline 'Pre-event testing key with more allowed to attend events'. Subscribe