Singapore Relaxes Its Current Travel Restrictions Despite Omicron Fears
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  • Post published:23/01/2022
  • Post last modified:23/01/2022

Predicting a large surge of the now-prevalent omicron strain, Singapore is taking measures to mitigate disruptions while relaxing entry restrictions and keeping the borders open.

As of Monday, Singapore was reporting 1,000 daily cases, but the Ministry of Health (MOH) has projected that that number will rise to between 10,000 and 20,000 cases per day by February.

Despite the somber Omicron outlook, fully vaccinated inbound travelers using Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) will no longer be subjected to monitored swab testing, and those who have recently recovered from Covid-19 will be exempt from taking COVID tests.

Meanwhile, positive cases who display symptoms but are fully vaccinated will only be required to isolate for seven days rather than 10. Children will be permitted to recover at home.

singapore street from above

Officials have advised citizens to exercise caution when engaging in social interactions during the Lunar New Year. In fact, social-distancing measures will be in place during the celebrations.

Foreseeing potential mass absences caused by workers calling in sick owing to the omicron variant, officials have requested businesses to prepare continuity plans and as well as continue with regular testing.

“As the number of infections could potentially be very large, absenteeism rate can go up very sharply,” the health ministry said Friday.

Last August, Singapore became the first country in the world to switch its pandemic strategy from “zero-tolerance” to “living” with the virus.

In order to “live” with the virus, the government introduced a series of “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” (VTLs) which have allowed visitors to enter the country without quarantine for the very first time in almost two years. The scheme began with only two countries and now has expanded to 24.

This is the first time, however, that Singapore faces the possibility of losing control of COVID-19 in the nation.

Regardless of strategy, daily reported cases are expected to start increasing now that the (MOH) has opted to include Protocol 2 cases, which are asymptomatic cases that were previously excluded from the daily tally.

Adding these types of cases would give “a better picture of the epidemic situation in Singapore and which part of the curve we are on,” said Health Minister on Friday.

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