SINGAPORE - From April 26, most places will not differentiate between people who are vaccinated and those who are not, except for higher-risk settings such as larger events, food and beverage (F&B) outlets, and nightlife establishments with dancing.
This means most venues will no longer require the public to check in using the TraceTogether application or token, except where vaccination status checks are still required.
Speaking at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 on Friday (April 22), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the key consideration for implementing vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) was that those who were not fully vaccinated had accounted for a disproportionate number of patients falling severely ill or dying.
He said: "So when our hospitals were still under a lot of pressure, VDS was critical in ensuring that we did not exert too much burden on our healthcare system. However, now that the hospital's workload has eased considerably, there is less need now to retain VDS in its current form."
This comes as Singapore's vaccination coverage stands at among the highest in the world and hospitalisations continue to decline. More than 96 per cent of the eligible population have been fully vaccinated.
Under the differentiation measures, unvaccinated individuals could not dine out, go to shopping malls or visit attractions. They were also banned from indoor sports facilities, cinemas, museums and public libraries.
VDS will continue to apply in higher-risk settings, such as nightspots with dancing, where people gather in close proximity with prolonged and close interactions, Mr Ong said on Friday.
They will also remain at larger events with more than 500 participants at any one time, such as large-scale gala dinners, weddings and conferences, as these are potential super-spreading events, he added.
And they will continue to apply at F&B establishments, including restaurants, coffee shops and hawker centres.
However, F&B establishments will no longer need to conduct VDS checks on their customers, following hawker centres and coffee shops, which no longer conduct such checks.
The onus will instead be on the individuals dining in to abide by the rules, with random spot checks conducted to ensure that only fully vaccinated people are present.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) will also stop issuing health risk notices (HRNs) to close contacts of Covid-19 patients from April 26. Individuals infected with Covid-19 will also no longer need to submit details of household contacts online.
However, they should continue to exercise social responsibility, such as by informing close contacts to take necessary precautions, said MOH.
To complement the removal of HRNs, people who test positive for Covid-19 will also no longer need to upload their TraceTogether data or submit their tokens from April 26.
However, the public is still strongly encouraged to keep the application on their mobile phones or keep their tokens, should they be used again, such as in response to a new Covid-19 variant of concern.
The TT token or mobile app has been pre-programmed and may still collect data of the user’s contacts in the background. However, the data will only stay in the token or in the smartphone and will be purged after 25 days, Mr Ong said.
The TT token or mobile app will still be used for VDS checks at places that need it.
Mr Ong said: “However, we will restrict this application now to purely verifying your vaccination status. All SafeEntry data to a premise or event will not be retained and they will be purged within a day.”