Reduce non-essential social activities for next two weeks to curb Covid-19 spread: Lawrence Wong

The Ministry of Health said social circles should be limited to a small group of regular contacts.
The Ministry of Health said social circles should be limited to a small group of regular contacts.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - All individuals in Singapore are being strongly urged to reduce non-essential social activities for the next two weeks, especially those who are old or living with elderly family members.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (Sept 6) said social circles should be limited to a small group of regular contacts, and social gatherings should be limited to one a day, whether to another household or in a public place.

"All individuals, including both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, should also self-test regularly with antigen rapid tests (ARTs), especially if we participate in higher-risk activities or attend large-scale events," the MOH said.

"These ART kits are now sold at most supermarkets and convenience stores," it added.

The latest advisory comes amid a spike in Covid-19 cases and the emergence of large clusters at bus interchanges, Bugis Junction and Changi General Hospital.

The number of new infection cases in the community almost doubled to more than 1,200 cases last week, up from around 600 cases the week before.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, said that the new advisory is not mandatory and that the previously announced measures are not being rolled back.

But he added: "The more we circulate, the more we are out and about, there is always a chance that those circulating around so much may inadvertently become the source of the next superspreader event."

"We're trying to ask people, please hold back, particularly during this period where there are so many cases and where the virus is spreading so quickly. Just scale back, cut back your social interactions, if possible."

Meanwhile, social gatherings at the workplace will not be allowed from Wednesday.

The MOH said recent clusters in workplace settings have emerged because of lax safe management measures, especially in areas such as staff canteens and pantries, where people tend to let their guard down and interact without their masks on.

Tougher action will be taken if there are positive cases among workers who are infected, the ministry said.

"In particular, employers will be required to put in place a maximum work-from-home (WFH) requirement over a 14-day period, should one or more of their workers be found to have contracted Covid-19 and have returned to their workplace.

"This means that everyone in the company who can WFH will be required to do so. Those who are working from home should minimise social gatherings and leave their homes only for essential activities during this 14-day period."

More details will be released by Manpower Ministry soon, the MOH added.

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