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People should limit themselves to one social gathering a day; similar workplace interactions must cease from Sep 8: MOH

People should limit themselves to one social gathering a day; similar workplace interactions must cease from Sep 8: MOH

People wearing face masks walking along Orchard Road, Singapore on Jul 22, 2021. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

SINGAPORE: All individuals should limit themselves to one social gathering a day, while social gatherings and interactions at workplaces will not be allowed from Sep 8, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (Sep 6).

This comes after a recent rise in the number of COVID-19 community cases in Singapore.

“We strongly encourage all individuals, especially the vulnerable elderly or persons staying with elderly, to reduce their non-essential social activities for the next two weeks,” said MOH in a press release.

“We should continue to limit our social circle to a small group of regular contacts and limit ourselves to one social gathering a day, whether to another household or in a public place.”

It added that recent clusters in workplace settings have taken place because of “lax” safe management measures, especially in areas like staff canteens and pantries “where people tend to let their guard down and interact amongst themselves without their masks on”.

“Hence, we will no longer allow social gatherings and interactions at workplaces from Sep 8,” said MOH.

The ministry clarified later on Monday night that it was referring to social gatherings as well as social interactions at workplaces.

The ministry said that it would take "tougher action" if there are positive cases among infected workers.

“In particular, employers will be required to put in place a maximum work-from-home requirement over a 14-day period, should one or more of their workers be found to have contract COVID-19 and have returned to their workplace," said MOH.

That means everyone in the company who can work from home 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, added MOH.

More details will be released by the Ministry of Manpower.

Speaking to reporters, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong on Monday asked people to "cut back" on their social interactions and to "exercise some restraint and moderation".

People are still permitted to go out under the rules, said Mr Wong. "But I think the more we circulate, the more we are out and about, there is always a chance that we, by circulating around so much, may inadvertently become the source of the next super spreader event," he added.

SELF TEST REGULARLY

MOH also reminded all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to self test regularly with antigen rapid tests (ARTs), especially if they are participating in higher-risk activities or attending large-scale events.

These kits are now sold at most supermarkets and convenience stores.

These measures come after the detection of several large clusters at bus interchanges, BHG Bugis Junction and Changi General Hospital.

“Many of the cases and clusters arose because of higher levels of interactions between people, either in social settings or workplaces,” the ministry said.

MOH added that it will monitor the local situation “closely” for the next two weeks.

“We seek everyone’s cooperation in ramping up self-testing and in observing all safe management measures so that we can lower transmission risks together,” it said.

"Everyone can play their role by minimising their movement and social interactions so that we can reduce footfall at common spaces at or near the workplace and in public venues, especially when there are sharp increases in transmissions."

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Source: CNA/cc

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