Singapore to look beyond vaccination for travel considerations

In Singapore, 310,000 individuals have received their second doses and completed the full vaccination regimen. — Picture by Nuria Ling/TODAY
In Singapore, 310,000 individuals have received their second doses and completed the full vaccination regimen. — Picture by Nuria Ling/TODAY

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SINGAPORE, March 24 — Singapore is looking at beyond vaccination for travel considerations which include the possibilities of additional tests, according to the republic’s Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Covid-19.

“I think we will want to also look at some form of testing of the individuals and that may include antibody tests to ascertain that the person has been vaccinated but also has the antibody response to the vaccine.

“So that is another way that we can determine that vaccination has been effective and has brought about the immune response from the individual,” said the MTF co-chairman Lawrence Wong who is also the Education Minister at a virtual press conference today.

Wong was responding to a question on whether the republic will only accept evidence of vaccines that are already approved within its borders for mutual recognition vaccination certificates while various types of vaccines are being used by other countries.

Regardless of the type of vaccine being used in any country, Wong noted that it does have an impact in helping to reduce the spread of the virus, to the extent able to keep the infection under control.

“And in time to come it will become a low-risk country and you know that in our framework for travel we have a categorisation based on risk,” he said.

Thus far, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines have been authorised for use in Singapore.

As for the republic’s vaccination programme, MTF said around 1,109,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered as of March 23, with more than 799,000 individuals having received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Amongst them, around 310,000 individuals have received their second doses and completed the full vaccination regimen, it said.

From April 24, the Taskforce said individuals who have completed the full vaccination regimen and have had time to develop sufficient protection - two weeks after the second dose of vaccination - can gain entry to events that implement pre-event testing without the need to undergo them.

On the same date, a few selected activities that include marriage solemnisation and wedding receptions will be allowed to be scaled up further if they implement pre-event testing for their attendees.

The limit for marriage solemnisations and wedding receptions will be increased to 250 attendees from 100, said the MTF.

Meanwhile, from April 5, the MTF said it will shift from working-from-home as a default to a more flexible and hybrid way of working.

In particular, up to 75 per cent of the employees who are presently able to work from home can now be at the workplace at any one time, up from the current 50 per cent, it said. — Bernama

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