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Asia Minute: New Restrictions for the Unvaccinated in Singapore

AP Photo/YK Chan

The resurgence of coronavirus cases has hit several locations that were successful in dealing with earlier outbreaks. That includes Singapore where authorities have suddenly changed course from a focus on re-opening the economy to increasing restrictions.

If you’re not vaccinated, stay home. That’s the blunt message from Singapore’s Health Ministry, which is “strongly advising” unvaccinated residents to not go out for the next three weeks.

Restrictions are also increasing elsewhere in Southeast Asia, from Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam.

Singapore has fewer cases than those countries and a higher vaccination rate against the coronavirus—nearly half the local population is fully vaccinated.

But the country is facing its biggest case numbers in nearly a year—and responding with new rules.

Many are aimed specifically at those who are not vaccinated, such as a two-person limit on dining out, and a two-person limit on groups exercising together in “high intensity” indoor activities.

Vaccinated people can gather in higher numbers.

There are also exemptions for those who have already had COVID-19—at least within the last 270 days, or about nine months.

One focus in Singapore now is karaoke lounges, linked to one of the latest and growing case clusters.

They’re not supposed to be doing business in their usual fashion these days but they had been allowed to operate as “food and beverage establishments," largely to save jobs.

No more—there’s a ban on that until the end of the month.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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