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50% of staff can return to workplace VDS

Its been announced that 50% of staff can return to workplace at the same time there will be stricter rules for the unvaccinated. These new measures were announced by the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 pandemic on Dec 14, 2021.

Singapore's Vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) will be expanded to more settings in the new year, as Singapore anticipates a potential surge in local Omicron cases. The extension of vaccination-differentiated safe management measures to more settings is to better protect the vulnerable and at-risk groups.

Singapore is already pressing forward with its booster vaccination programme and urging more regular testing in the workplace and community as explained by the multi-ministry task force.

The new additional measures will be

1. Vaccination-differentiated safe management measures to be expanded to more settings and events

From Feb 1, vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) will cover all indoor sports facilities and institutes of higher learning, as well as apply to leisure guests in hotels, hostels and serviced apartments. (ie only those who are fully vaccinated, those medically ineligible for Covid-19 vaccines, people who have recovered from the virus, as well as children aged 12 and below will be able to enter such places.)

Students in institutes of higher learning who are completing their full-time Nitec, Higher Nitec, diploma or degree programmes will be exempted from the VDS measures requirement when entering their respective educational institutions.

Media conferences, work-related events and funerary memorial events will also require VDS from Feb 1.

Funerals, wakes or funeral processions held during or before burial or cremation will continue to allow 30 participants at any time, and will not be subject to VDS.

From Feb 1, all events, irrespective of event size, must implement VDS to proceed.

Currently, only events with more than 50 attendees are required to implement VDS.

The Ministry of Health said that even smaller-sized events can spark transmission that can then spread to wider groups of people, especially in view of the Omicron variant.

2. Singapore citizens can enter Malaysia via land VTL

Malaysian citizens will also be able to enter Singapore using the same lane.

All travellers entering Singapore will have to abide by prevailing test protocols and safe management measures, which include the post-arrival seven-day Covid-19 antigen rapid test regime.

3. Half of those who can work from home allowed to return to the office

From Jan 1, Singapore will ease its default work-from-home stance and allow 50 per cent of those who can work from home to return to the office.

Unvaccinated employees will not be allowed to return to the workplace unless they have tested negative for Covid-19, though this is being reviewed.

Companies still must have their Safe Management Measures in place

4. Shorter post-vaccination observation time for mRNA boosters

The post-vaccination observation time for booster vaccination doses of mRNA vaccines will be reduced from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.

5. Reduced exemption period for those who have recovered from Covid-19

From Jan 1, all those who have recovered from Covid-19 and are not fully vaccinated will be given a 180-day exemption after infection to enter settings where VDS is implemented.

6. Updates to mandatory rostered routine testing

The Health Ministry said that beyond March 31, employers and businesses should be prepared to factor in testing costs as part of their business operations.

7. Expanded network of quick test centres

The Health Promotion Board has set up or partnered private providers to set up close to 60 quick test centres, where members of the public can make an appointment for a self-administered antigen rapid test that is supervised by trained personnel.

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