Singapore PM: Mask-wearing to be required only on public transport and in healthcare facilities

Singapore PM: Mask-wearing to be required only on public transport and in healthcare facilities

Wearing of face masks will still be required on public transport, where people are in prolonged close contact in a crowded space. — TODAY pic

Sunday, 21 Aug 2022 8:26 PM MYT

SINGAPORE, Aug 21 — With the Covid-19 pandemic situation stabilizing in Singapore, the Government will further relax rules on wearing of face masks in public, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced today.

Delivering his annual National Day Rally, Lee said that the wearing of face masks will soon be required only on public transport, “where people are in prolonged close contact in a crowded space” as well as in healthcare settings such as in clinics, hospitals as well as residential and nursing homes, where there are vulnerable persons.

“Everywhere else, outdoors or indoors, masks will be optional,” he added.

Details, including when the new rules will take effect, will be announced by the Government task force on Covid-19, Lee said, adding that Singaporeans should not “take off your masks this very moment”.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus, people here used to have to put on face masks when they leave their homes.

This rule was relaxed from March 29, with the wearing of face masks mandated only in indoor settings, though people were still encouraged to wear them when they leave home, especially in crowded areas.

In announcing the upcoming easing of rules, Lee noted that for schools in particular, masks should not be needed in classes.

”Children need to be able to see the facial expressions of their teachers and of each other. This is crucial for their learning and development,” he said.

He said that the infection controls have protected Singapore well throughout the pandemic, with Covid-19 regulations being adapted to the changing situation and gradually eased.

Today, just two such rules remain.

Besides having to wear face masks indoors, people must also be vaccinated to attend events and take part in activities in higher-risk settings such as dining out at eateries.

He added that beyond the infection controls, Singapore must learn the lessons from the pandemic, and be ready for a possible future where “a new virus will emerge, more transmissible, more adaptable and more dangerous than Covid-19”.

“The most important lesson is to maintain the spirit of personal and social responsibility,” Lee said.

“Continue to nurture the trust in our society — day in, day out — during normal times, so that during the next crisis, we can again draw upon a deep reservoir of trust to see us through, just like we have done during Covid- 19.” In his speech, Lee also announced a new special state award called the Covid-19 Resilience Medal that will be presented to people who played a direct part in the fight against the pandemic.

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