1. Good afternoon. It has been two weeks since our last press conference. Since then, the situation has stabilised, with cases remaining at more than 3,000 a day. However, the week-on-week ratio of infections has come down to below 1 over the last few days, and it was 0.81 as of 7 Nov.
· The number of cases in hospitals and proportion of cases with severe illness have also remained stable. Minister Ong Ye Kung and DMS will provide more details later.
2. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Singaporeans for their support and for working together to slow down the transmission. With the situation stabilising, we are now in a better position to ease some of our safe management measures (SMMs), without overwhelming our healthcare system.
3. We will take a careful, step by step approach, and we will continue to monitor the situation, and adjust as we go along.
· First, on dining-in. From 10 November, we will allow up to 5 fully-vaccinated persons from the same household to dine-in together at F&B establishments. This excludes hawker centres and coffee shops and the NEA will work with them to put in place measures to allow them to do so.
· Second, we will explore further easing in settings that allows only vaccinated persons with additional requirements of pre-activity testing. For a start, we will begin with pilots in sports settings. We will also extend this pilot to selected mass sporting events as well as MICE events. Minister Lawrence Wong will elaborate further.
· Third, MOE will also gradually resume more school activities, including in-person classes, group work and Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs). These are very important for the education for our children. MOE will provide a separate update later.
4. We will also refine some of our SMMs for businesses.
· I would like to take this opportunity to also thank our businesses for doing your best in implementing and adhering to the current SMMs.
· We will adjust some of these SMMs to better facilitate your operations.
· For example, we will increase the zone sizes for various event categories such as cinemas, live performances as well as MICE events.
· We will also allow recorded music to be played at F&B outlets.
5. As we gradually reopen, it is inevitable that the number of COVID-19 cases may rise, as seen in our past experience.
· We will need to continue to protect those who are unvaccinated, as they are at higher risk of severe outcomes.
· Therefore, vaccine-differentiated SMMs (VDS) will continue to be a key pillar of our re-opening strategy. We will explore the expansion of VDS to more settings, and will announce further details in the coming weeks.
· While we have extended a concession to those who are medically ineligible for vaccination so that they will be able to access premises or participate in activities where VDS are imposed, please do try your best to minimise unnecessary exposure. This is to protect you and to reduce your risk of infection.
6. As the global situation evolves, we continue to review and adjust our border measures and update the country/ region classification.
· Travellers from Category II and Category III countries/ regions can now choose to undertake either a PCR or professionally administered ART Pre-Departure Test (PDT).
· In addition, we will extend the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme to include Finland and Sweden.
7. I want to thank everyone for your support and cooperation during the Stabilisation Phase. We are now in a better position to make some adjustments to our SMMs and continue our journey towards living with COVID-19. However, I would also like to encourage everyone to remain vigilant, continue to exercise social responsibility and make testing a way of life. This will help us to keep the growth ratio in the weekly infections low, and protect our healthcare system and our healthcare workers. Let us all continue to do our part so that we can resume more economic and social activities progressively. I am confident that if we all work together, we will be able to become a COVID-19 resilient nation. Thank you.