Lawrence Wong: 5 pax for social gatherings 'already a very big step', MTF may consider next move in end-Dec.

Singapore is taking an "incremental step-by-step approach" towards the easing of restrictions.

Guan Zhen Tan | November 21, 2021, 07:41 PM

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The increase of the maximum group size for social gatherings and dining in at F&B establishments is "already a very big step" in Singapore's "incremental step-by-step approach" towards the easing of restrictions.

This was said by Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) co-chair Lawrence Wong, as part of his response to a question posed by the media during the press conference on Nov. 21.

Avoid overwhelming the healthcare system with a resurgence of cases

Singapore is set to ease restrictions from Nov. 22, with group sizes for social gatherings increasing from two persons to five persons.

Responding to a question on why Singapore is not yet easing the restrictions to allow up to eight people from one household to dine in together, Wong said that "all the co-chairs have been talking about taking an incremental step-by-step approach".

Earlier in the press conference, Wong also made mentions of the incremental approach, explaining that they are "trying very hard" to avoid a resurgence of cases that can quickly overwhelm Singapore's healthcare system.

He mentioned that the MTF is closely watching the situation at the hospitals and how the infection situation is like, before deciding on the next step.

Wong emphasised that the current ease in restrictions is "a very big step" and a "significant move", which is likely to result in more interactions, and by extension, infections.

As such, Wong called for people to "exercise restraint":

"If our attitude is always [to] keep pushing the limit…there is no doubt before too long, you will see a resurgence of cases, our hospitals will get overwhelmed again, and we will be back in this very difficult situation of deciding how to manage our healthcare system, as you see now in Europe."

Wong also urged people to continue to remain disciplined and cooperate fully with all the safe management measures.

In spite of it not being a "big bang approach", Wong said that they are "confident" that it would produce "better results" and allow Singapore steady progress in becoming a "Covid-resilient nation".

He also highlighted during the press conference that the MTF will be able to consider the next series of moves "around end of December, if the situation - and the healthcare system - remains stable.

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