No masks on public transport, free vaccines: 6 things you need to know as S’pore lifts Covid-19 rules

From Feb 13, mask-wearing will no longer be mandated in all settings as community regulations are lifted. PHOTOS: ST FILE, GAVIN FOO, CHONG JUN LIANG, LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - From Feb 13, commuters will no longer have to wear masks when taking public transport as community regulations are progressively lifted.

This was among the changes to measures that the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 announced on Thursday.

This comes more than three years after the first Covid-19 case was reported in Singapore on Jan 23, 2020.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes:

1. No masks required on public transport

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From Feb 13, commuters will not have to wear masks when taking public transport.

However, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will still require visitors, staff and patients in healthcare and residential care settings to wear masks when interacting with patients. These include hospital wards, clinics and nursing homes.

Settings in these places that do not involve patient interaction are excluded. Examples of these are retail and food and beverage outlets, staff rest areas and car parks.

Other authorities, such as the Singapore Food Agency, for instance, may still require food handlers to wear a mask or spit guard.

Businesses may also opt to maintain mask-wearing as part of their company policy for workplace health and safety or business continuity.

Since Aug 29, 2022, masks have not been required in most indoor settings.

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2. Covid-19 vaccines remain free


Covid-19 vaccinations and oral antivirals will continue to be free for those eligible.

All Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and some short-term pass holders will not need to pay for vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme.

Covid-19 vaccinations and Covid-19 oral antivirals will continue to be fully subsidised for clinically eligible public hospital patients and nursing home residents until further notice.

READ FULL STORY: Covid-19 vaccines will remain free, but treatment and testing no longer 100% subsidised

3. Treatment and testing no longer fully subsidised from April 1


From April 1, treatment for those admitted to hospitals or Covid-19 treatment facilities because of the virus will no longer be fully subsidised, regardless of the patients’ vaccination status.

People infected with Covid-19 will no longer have to stay in community isolation facilities from April 1, just as they are not required to do so for other endemic diseases such as influenza or chicken pox.

Some of these facilities will remain open for those who want to self-isolate, but patients will be charged for their stay.

As these facilities are not classed as medical facilities, citizens and permanent residents will not be able to tap government subsidies, MediShield Life or MediSave to pay their bills.

All patients will be required to pay for Covid-19 tests from April 1.

From Feb 13, protocols for those who test positive for the virus will also be scrapped, but residents are advised to exercise social responsibility.

Persons infected with Covid-19 should follow the updated general advisory for people with acute respiratory infection symptoms.

Medical certificates issued for Covid-19 will not be differentiated from those given for other diseases, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

READ FULL STORY: Covid-19 vaccines will remain free, but treatment and testing no longer 100% subsidised

4. TraceTogether and SafeEntry no longer required


Members of the public can uninstall their TraceTogether app, and enterprises may do the same for the SafeEntry (Business) App.

The Government will no longer require infected persons to submit TraceTogether data.

SafeEntry data is no longer being collected, and MOH has deleted all identifiable TraceTogether and SafeEntry data from its servers and databases.

A TraceTogether token return exercise will take place from Feb 13 to March 12. Members of the public can return their tokens at any of the 108 community clubs islandwide.

READ FULL STORY: TraceTogether, SafeEntry to be stepped down, data deleted

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5. Unvaccinated travellers entering S’pore do not need pre-departure test


From Feb 13, travellers who are not fully vaccinated and entering Singapore will no longer need to take a pre-departure test.

Short-term visitors who are not fully vaccinated will no longer have to purchase Covid-19 travel insurance.

READ FULL STORY: Singapore will lift remaining Covid-19 border restrictions from Feb 13

6. Migrant workers no longer need to apply for pass to enter popular places


From Feb 13, migrant workers will be allowed to visit the community without applying for a Popular Places Pass. The pass was introduced in June 2022 to manage crowding in Chinatown, Geylang Serai, Jurong East and Little India on Sundays and public holidays.

From March 1, the Manpower Ministry will further ease the rules for migrant workers to align with those for the rest of the population.

Migrant workers living in dormitories who test positive for the virus or have mild symptoms will be able to recover in dormitories or visit a doctor.

Covid-19 tests will be administered only for vulnerable migrant workers with symptoms or those with severe acute respiratory infection symptoms.

Those with more serious symptoms such as chest pain will be taken to the emergency department of public healthcare institutions. 

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