Singapore relaxes tight COVID-19 social curbs from Monday

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SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Singapore’s government is easing some of the tight social curbs it imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, after infections stabilised in the city-state over the past month.

From Monday, limits on social interactions and dining out will be expanded to five people from the current rule of up to two vaccinated people, government ministers told a news conference on Saturday.

They said the overall infection numbers and hospital situation have largely stabilised and improved.

“We are now transiting towards living with COVID-19,” Gan Kim Yong, minister for trade and industry, told reporters. “I know many or some prefer to open up more quickly but we must do so in a very careful and step-by-step manner.”

“This means that we will ease some measures, observe, monitor and ensure the situation continues to be under control and stabilised before easing further,” he said.

Singapore’s daily COVID-19 cases have fallen below 3,000 on average. About 85% of the island nation’s 5.45 million people have been vaccinated.

The number of infections fell to 1,734 cases on Friday from a record daily count of 5,324 in late October.

Business events in Singapore are already bouncing back.

Singapore hosted top executives of big global companies this week at a host of conferences, marking its gradual return to normalcy and underscoring the contrast with long-time rival Hong Kong, which is sticking with some of the toughest quarantine rules in the world.

Despite all this, compared to Europe, Britain and the United States, Singapore still has tight COVID-19 restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing in public.

“We will monitor the situation over the next few weeks and if the overall situation remains stable, our healthcare system remains stable, we can consider the next series of moves, say around end of December,” said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by William Mallard)

Photo – A woman holds an umbrella as she walks along a park connector lined with flowering trumpet trees in Singapore. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

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