Singapore to Return Close to Pre-Pandemic Normal With ‘Yellow’ Alert, Further Easing of Restrictions

Pre-departure tests for fully-vaccinated travellers and group size limits to be scrapped
By Keng Onn Wong
Keng Onn Wong
Keng Onn Wong
Keng Onn Wong is a writer based in Singapore.
April 26, 2022 Updated: April 26, 2022

Singapore authorities announced that the nation’s pandemic alert status will be lowered from “orange” to “yellow,” with further easing of community and border measures due to improving numbers for daily infections and hospitalizations.

In a press conference on April 22, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung announced that the nation’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level would be lowered to yellow in view of the country’s improving COVID-19 situation.

According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH), the seven-day moving average of daily case numbers have fallen from 18,300 at their peak to under 3,100 in the past week. Hospitalizations have decreased from 1,726 to 266, while intensive care unit (ICU) patients are in the “single digits.”

Given the improving situation, the high levels of vaccination, and the progressive easing of pandemic measures, MOH said the DORSON level would be stepped down from orange to yellow on April 26.

The color-coded DORSCON framework, which ranges from green to red alert levels, is used to reflect the current disease situation in Singapore. It was raised to orange on Feb. 7, 2020, when local COVID-19 cases unlinked to previous cases or travel history to China were detected.

Ong described the downgrade to DORSCON yellow as an “important milestone.”

“We know the danger is of course not over, but we can all breathe easier now,” he said.

In tandem with the adjustment of the DORSCON level, community and border measures have been eased, effective April 26.

Pre-Departure Tests Scrapped for Fully Vaccinated Travellers

As previously reported by The Epoch Times, Singapore introduced its Vaccinated Travel Framework on March 29 that exempted fully-vaccinated travellers from on-arrival tests and quarantine, but it still required travellers arriving via air or sea checkpoints to submit pre-departure tests within two days before they depart for Singapore.

But effective April 26, fully vaccinated air and sea travellers will no longer be subject to this requirement.

However, entry requirements for non-fully vaccinated travellers remain unchanged (pdf). They are generally not allowed entry, except for compassionate reasons or if they are medically ineligible for vaccines.

Other Measures Eased

Mask-off activities will also no longer be restricted to a group size of 10, and the cap of 10 unique visitors per household at any one time has also been removed.

With the removal of the group size limit, 1-metre “safe distancing” is no longer required between individuals or groups.

The limit of 75 percent staff working in office will be lifted as well.

The requirement for masks to be worn in indoor settings will remain, but workers may remove their masks when they are “not interacting physically with others” and when they are not in customer-facing areas.

“This concession will provide some flexibility for workers as more return to the workplace,” MOH said.

Vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) are also to be removed from all settings, except for food and beverage establishments such as coffee shops, hawker centres and restaurants, nightlife establishments where dancing is involved, and events with more than 500 participants.

For food and beverage outlets, VDS check-in will not be required and only random spot-checks will be conducted on people who are dining in.

In general, only fully vaccinated people are permitted to enter VDS venues.

In Singapore, to be considered fully-vaccinated, you need to have had a booster shot within 270 days after the last dose of your primary vaccination series.

Travellers vaccinated overseas may be granted a temporary vaccinated status that is valid for 30 days. For visitors who stay longer, they are required to get their overseas vaccination records “injested” with Singapore’s National Immunisation Registry.

Keng Onn Wong is a writer based in Singapore.