SINGAPORE — Singapore is introducing new differentiated Covid measures for dining in as new cases continue to rise.
Only fully vaccinated individuals and people who have recovered from Covid-19 will be able to dine in in groups of five without taking Covid tests when the new rules kick in on July 19, the health ministry said in a press release on Friday.
These food and beverage outlets must put systems in place to check the vaccination status of their customers.
Unvaccinated people have to take antigen rapid tests to join in groups of five for meals. Dining in will otherwise be limited to groups of two.
Children under the age of 12, who cannot receive vaccinations yet, can dine together with members of their household without taking a Covid test. These groups are also capped at five.
Authorities previously said those who receive shots developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech will not be granted the same perks as those who have been inoculated with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. Sinovac’s vaccine has not been included in Singapore’s national vaccine program and is only available in the city-state through a special access route.
The latest tightening of measures comes as Singapore announced that a cluster related to so-called KTV lounges swelled to 120 cases.
Nightclubs, bars and KTV or karaoke TV lounges have been banned from operating in Singapore since last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. These businesses are seen as high risk because activities in the premises sometimes involve customers socializing with hostesses and the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Some, however, chose to continue operations as food and beverage outlets. A number of them are suspected to have breached the rules by providing hostess services.
The number of new infections in the community in the past week is 127, up from 23 in the week before, the health ministry said in an update on July 15.
Singapore has reported 62,913 cases of Covid-19 as of July 16.
At a virtual press conference on Friday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told reporters that 73% of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 45% are fully vaccinated.
Based on vaccination appointments, that figure is likely to rise to 50% sometime next week, he added.
He said the country is “well on track” to meet its target of having two-thirds of its population to be fully vaccinated by August 9, its National Day.