1. Good afternoon. Since the last press conference, the situation has remained stable. The week-on-week infection ratio has stayed around 1 or lower. The proportion of severe cases in the past week has also remained stable.
2. The Stabilisation Phase will end on 21 November and we will return to the Transition Phase. We are now in a better position to further relax the safe management measures (SMMs).
3. From 22 November, we will allow groups of up to five, fully vaccinated persons to dine-in at F&B establishments, even if they are not from the same household.
· From 23 November, this will also apply to hawker centres and coffee shops that are able to put in place the necessary checks.
· Hawker centres and coffee shops which are unable to do so can continue to have groups of up to two, fully vaccinated persons to dine in.
4. We will also align the permissible group size for social gatherings. This will be increased from two persons to five persons. In addition, we will increase the cap on the daily number of household visitors to five.
· However, we strongly encourage unvaccinated individuals to continue to stay at home as much as possible to protect yourselves.
· Do also take the necessary precautions when you are visiting those who are more vulnerable. For example, if you are visiting a household that has an unvaccinated person or vulnerable elderly that you are aware of, you can protect them by testing yourselves prior to the visit.
5. As we further ease our SMMs, vaccination-differentiated SMMs (VDS) will continue to be a key measure to protect those who are unvaccinated.
· The People’s Association and SportSG had earlier launched pilots on activities for seniors who are fully vaccinated. Drawing on lessons from these pilots, we will resume more of such activities in a safe manner in the coming weeks. Seniors can look forward to more active ageing programmes by the Health Promotion Board and the National Silver Academy in time to come. More details will be released soon.
· From 1 December, we will also expand VDS to more settings and activities. This will include all libraries under the National Library Board, and selected activities in the community clubs.
· As earlier announced, we will extend a concession to those who are medically ineligible for vaccination from 1 December, so that they are able to access premises or participate in activities where VDS are imposed. This will include dining-in, and visits to hospitals and residential care homes.
6. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your patience and support. We are able to make these adjustments because you have helped to keep our infections under control. We are now transiting towards living with COVID-19, and I know some prefer to open up more quickly, but we must do so in a careful, 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. This way, we hope to avoid any disruptive u-turns.
· This cautious, step-by-step approach us has allowed us to continuously allow more activities to be resumed in the community, and allowed the economy to also open up gradually. We have also established vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) with several countries and this has allowed us to strengthen our position as a hub for business and travel.
· Having said that, COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic and the virus is still unpredictable, and we may have to continue to tap on the brakes from time to time. We will try our best to avoid that as much as possible.
· So let us continue to be vigilant, exercise social responsibility, and make testing a way of life to keep infections under control and protect our healthcare system and healthcare workers. By working together, we will be able to progress in our journey towards COVID-19 resilience. Thank you.