Singapore’s national COVID tracking may return: minister

Don’t get too happy, contract tracing might be reimplemented again in the future, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said today.

It’s been about two weeks since Singaporeans could enter most places without using national COVID tracking systems TraceTogether and SafeEntry, but Ong warned citizens not to delete the apps or toss their tokens just yet.

“We are taking a cautious, ‘step down but not dismantle’ posture for our public health measures. If the situation requires, we will have to step up and reactivate TraceTogether and SafeEntry,” Ong said in parliament today.

Since April 26, most venues do not require TraceTogether or SafeEntry to check in, except for events with more than 500 participants and nightlife establishments. 

Ong said that despite Singapore’s current stable COVID – infection rates have fallen sharply – there is a new Omicron sub-variant that has infected at least 2 people locally. Not much is known about the variant, and health officials are working to figure out if it is more infectious and tameable with existing vaccines, he added.

Thus, there is still a “high” possibility of an infection wave with even more variants and that’s why people need to stay on their toes, he said.

Ong also said that those not fully vaccinated can now enter buildings and dine in since measures have been relaxed. While the unvaccinated are now allowed to enter malls, they are still not allowed to dine in and are highly encouraged to remain at home.

Singapore is recording a seven-day average of just more than 3,500 new daily cases, a huge drop from the February peak of nearly 20,000. Hospital resources are no longer stretched, as there are more than enough beds. In total, the nation has reported 1,217,922 cases and 1,352 deaths since the pandemic began.

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