Singapore has decided to calibrate its unlocking plans amid dozens of new delta variant cases over the last week, even as some countries with similarly high rates of vaccination allow a resumption of social activities and freer travel.
The government is also facing the challenge of vaccine hesitancy There have been claims on social media that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe and ineffective in protecting against COVID-19 and its Variants of Concern (VOCs).
Delta Variant of Coronavirus delays Singapore reopening
The government announced from Monday, June 21, 2021 higher-risk activities such as dining-in at restaurants and going to the gym can resume in groups of up to two people — instead of five, as had been previously announced.
Group size will likely be increased to as many as five people from mid-July, barring any superspreader events or big clusters, officials said at a briefing.
“I would say there are two schools of thought,” said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong. “One school of thought is that we should push back the reopening to a much later date until we have cases that are near zero consistently for many days. But this is, in fact very hard to achieve, and may not even be possible to do so given how transmissible the delta variant is.”
Singapore has been struggling to find a path to reopen, as the aggressive rules that allowed it to stamp out the virus increasingly become a straitjacket. Friday’s announcement signaled that the government was shifting its mindset to a more tolerant approach, but other global cities are quickly opening up at similar levels of vaccination, leaving some expatriates to question whether the city-state has been too slow.