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Malls, supermarkets among sectors to be included in COVID-19 'vaccinate or regular test' regime

Malls, supermarkets among sectors to be included in COVID-19 'vaccinate or regular test' regime

A healthcare worker at National Centre for Infectious Diseases receives one of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore on Dec 30, 2020.

  • Singapore to expand "vaccinate or regular test" regime to more people, including mall staff, supermarket workers, and taxi and private hire car drivers.

  • Selected short-term pass holders to be offered COVID-19 jabs under Singapore's vaccination programme

  • Singapore to assist neighbouring countries by donating and swapping vaccines

SINGAPORE: Workers in shopping malls and supermarkets as well as taxi and private hire drivers will be included in Singapore's COVID-19 "vaccinate or regular test" regime when it starts on Oct 1, said the Ministry of Health on Friday (Aug 13).

Last mile delivery workers, driving school and private driving instructors as well as public transport frontline staff will also be included in the regime, which was first announced last week.

The "vaccinate or regular test" regime requires unvaccinated individuals in some workplace settings to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week using antigen rapid tests.

Workers who are already under the regime include those in healthcare, eldercare and settings with children aged 12 and below. They also include those who interact with customers in high-risk mask-off settings, such as at Singapore’s borders or COVID-19 frontline work, as well as those in the public service, food & beverage establishments, gyms and fitness studios, and personal care services.

VACCINATIONS FOR SHORT-TERM PASS HOLDERS

MOH also said on Friday that Singapore will open up vaccinations to groups of short-term pass holders who are in the country for "long periods of time".

This comes after a "good majority" of Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders have been vaccinated, the ministry said.

Eligible short-term pass holders will be notified through SMS progressively from Aug 18, said MOH. The ministry did not provide more details on eligibility.

MORE CLINICS TO OFFER VACCINATIONS

MOH also announced that the number of public health preparedness clinics offering jabs under the national vaccination programme will be increased to more than 60 by the end of August, from 44 now.

This will make it more accessible and convenient for seniors to get their vaccinations, said the ministry.

From Aug 18, all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders aged 12 and above will also be able to walk into any polyclinic or participating clinic to get their first dose of a vaccine without a prior appointment.

This followed earlier announcements that people who have not received their first dose can walk into any vaccination centre offering the Pfizer-BioNtech/Comirnaty or Moderna jabs without a prior appointment.

Providing an update on community vaccination efforts, MOH said that 6,600 seniors have been inoculated through the deployment of mobile vaccination teams and home vaccination teams to date.

As of Thursday, 84 per cent of people aged 60 and above have completed their full vaccination regimen, while 89 per cent have received at least one dose. More than 115,000 people in this age group remain unvaccinated, said MOH.

ASSISTING NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES

Additionally, Singapore will also assist its neighbouring countries by donating or swapping of COVID-19 vaccines, said MOH on Friday.

"We have made good progress in our vaccination programme and have set aside sufficient vaccine supplies for our immediate needs," said MOH.

The ministry added that this will help to boost the overall resilience of the region against COVID-19.

On the local situation, MOH said that there has been a steady decline in cases over the last two weeks since Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures were introduced.

As of Thursday, the number of new local cases fell to an average of 69 cases a day in the past week, from 108 cases a day in the week before.

Singapore reported 49 new COVID-19 infections on Friday as well as its seventh death from the virus in August - an 84-year-old man who was not vaccinated and had a history of medical conditions.

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Source: CNA/dv

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