The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has been closely monitoring the local and global COVID-19 situation. Even when local community transmission remains low, we need to remain vigilant. The MTF will continue to review the latest evidence on COVID-19 and put in place strategies to manage new infections at dormitories, ensure a calibrated safe reopening of activities including enhancing TraceTogether (TT) and SafeEntry (SE), and safe reopening of Singapore’s borders.

Management of dormitory cases

MOM has been observing cases of COVID-19 cases among the cleared dormitories. Dormitory residents who have never been infected remain susceptible to COVID-19. Since the dormitories were declared cleared on 11 August, there have been about 45 of such cases daily. Detection of such cases are done primarily through active surveillance testing, such as Rostered Routine Testing, and through aggressive tracing and testing whenever a new case is detected. About 2% of these cases have positive serological tests, which indicate past infections.

MOM has put in place a strategy to detect any new COVID-19 cases in the dormitories and to contain infections quickly:

‘Safe Living, Safe Working and Safe Rest Day’ measures
  • Dorm operators need to implement various physical distancing measures in the dorms to limit inter-mixing of residents
  • Monitor residents’ health and take necessary precautions
Strategies for swift detection of new cases
  • Self-monitoring by migrant workers and regular updating of their health status
  • Close monitoring of workers who report sick at medical posts with acute respiratory illnesses
  • Conducting wastewater testing at selected dorms for traces of the virus
  • Conducting Rostered Routine Testing for dorm residents every 14 days
Ring-fence and contact tracing
  • Close contacts will be quarantined and must be tested negative at the end of quarantine before returning to work

Enhancement to TraceTogether Programme and SafeEntry 

To support the safe and gradual resumption of activities, the MTF will also be enhancing the TT programme and SE to facilitate rapid and comprehensive contact tracing.

Distribution of free TT token to general public

Nation-wide distribution of TT tokens will commence from 14 September 2020, and the distribution should be done by November. This is to enable more Singapore residents to be protected by the TT programme. The free token will be available for all residents in Singapore. Everyone is encouraged to either download TT app onto their mobile phone, or to collect the TT token. A higher adoption rate makes the TT programme and contact tracing efforts more efficient and effective.

Distribution will begin with the Jalan Besar and Tanjong Pagar regions, where there is a higher proportion of elderly who may have more challenges using the TT app and are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Collection points will be extended throughout Singapore progressively. Residents can visit the TokenGoWhere website for more details on the collection sites and timing. Those who wish to collect the token earlier, may visit any of the active collection sites listed on the website to do so.

Pilot TraceTogether-only SafeEntry Check-in for designated places

To facilitate contact tracing efforts, MOM will be piloting the deployment of SE that requires the use of either the TT app or token to check in at selected venues, to facilitate the further easing of measures at these settings.

This ‘TT-only SafeEntry’ will first be piloted at selected venues, and will be expanded over time along with the introduction of the national distribution exercise. This could include venues where there may be larger groups coming together, particularly where there is close interaction among attendees, or where masks may not be worn at all times due to the nature of the activities. Supplementing SafeEntry with proximity data from TT can enhance safety for participants. This was trialled at the first MICE event held at the end of August, with more pilots starting progressively from September 2020.

New service launched to self-monitor health based on SafeEntry records

From 10 September, there will be a new Self-Check service and SMS service to alert people if they have visited the same venues at the same time as COVID-19 cases, based on their own SafeEntry records.

This Self-Check service will be available on the TT app. Individuals can also access the Self-Check service via SingPass Mobile or (with SingPass login).

From 10 September, SMS alerts will be sent to a smaller group of individuals who were at locations assessed to pose a higher risk of transmission at the same time as COVID-19 cases. Examples includes dining places and gyms where people do not wear masks for prolonged period of time.

More details will be provided by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG).

Safe reopening of activities

Enabling more workers to return to workplaces safely

MOM is working with tripartite partners on the next phase of safe management measures (SMMs) for workplaces. It is critical that employers implement SMMs seriously and ensure that safe distancing is adhered to. Additionally, employers need to implement flexible workplace hours to allow a good part of workers to travel off-peak (after 0930 hours), which helps to mitigate the risk of crowding in public places and office buildings during peak hours.

Stepping up enforcement at F&B outlets

Dining out is an activity that involves considerable risks, as people are crowded together in an enclused space, without their masks on, for a prolonged duration.

SMM breaches continue to happen at some F&B outlets, especially those at popular nightspots. These breaches include the sale and consumption of alcohol after 2230 hours, individuals not wearing masks as required, gathering in groups of more than 5 and intermingling between groups (eg. inside private room), seating customers less than 1m apart and the playing of loud music. Since the start of Phase 2, about 20 F&B establishments have been suspended.

Enforcement checks will be stepped up at F&B outlets and appropriate actions will be taken against businesses and individuals who breach the SMMs. Premise owners should ensure that SMMs are properly implemented and members of the public to be socially responsible, and do their part to observe the SMMs.

Requiring pre-departure tests for travelers from India

There have been reports of a resurgence of infections in India. Singapore has also observed a significant number of imported cases with recent travel history to India.

To reduce the risk of case importation from India, travelers who are not Singapore citizens or PRs and have recent travel history to India within the last 14 days prior to entry will be required to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before departure. They need to present a valid negative test result as a condition to enter Singapore. This requirement will take effect for those arriving in Singapore from 17 September 2020, 0000 hours, and will apply on top of the existing requirements of a 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities and a negative test before end of SHN. 

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